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There must be something in the water at Ogilvy & Mather Direct, especially those of its offices along the Pacific Rim.

O&M Direct offices worldwide combined for eight Echo Awards, the most of any global agency organization this year, with five awards sailing across the Pacific.

The Auckland, New Zealand, office took three awards, topping all other shops. The Singapore branch garnered two awards, including the Diamond Echo-DMA's prize for this year's best overall direct response package.

The top award saluted a campaign for SmithKline Beecham's Oxy anti-acne products.

To get teenagers to divulge information about their pimple-control product usage-a sensitive issue in this age group-the agency created a mailing with a questionnaire that offered trendy prizes such as Doc Martens shoes.

Using point-of-sale leaflets, direct response ads in teen magazines and names of previous promotion respondents, the agency captured over 10,000 names-more than double the 5,000 projected.

Respondents were split into a control group, which received only a free gift, and a test group, which got a gift plus a "Skinformation Kit" with skincare advice and information on Oxy products.

The result was a 34% increase in teenagers using the products correctly. In addition, the test group's brand purchase intention was more than triple that of the control group, 22% to 7%.

While O&M Direct, Singapore, achieved success by addressing teenagers in Singapore, the Auckland shop used minuscule maildrops based on one common interest.

The problem for one client, Telecom Directories, was how to entice key executives worldwide to attend a conference in New Zealand. The conference was for users of AMDOCS, a directory-publishing software provider.

"We had to get through to only 40 top guys-one in each country-and we knew we had to create a lot of impact," says Creative Director Robin Powell, the campaign's copywriter, adding that the client's in-house mailing netted only two responses.

One common interest was, of course, phone books. So Mr. Powell, with Senior Art Director Gary Cunliffe, opted for a phone book motif.

The result was an invitation package within a Telecom Yellow Pages directory. A compartment built into the directory contained an invitation, brochure and reply form.

The mailing helped bring 48 seminar registrations from the 40 invitations, for a total cost, including production and postage, of $3,350.

O&M Direct's work for the launch of the 7 Series auto from BMW New Zealand, on the other hand, was based on a mailing list of 350 current owners of BMW or rival luxury makes.

"We decided to treat, spoil and reward prospective buyers, just as the 7 Series would care for them," says Anne Davidson, copywriter.

Seven months before actual delivery date for the 7 Series, O&M Direct began the first of seven events based on the seven senses. These events ranged from an all expenses paid trip to the Auckland Flower Show, to appeal to the sense of smell, to a test-drive of the $150,000 car-an appeal to "pure driving pleasure."

Within three months of the car's debut, BMW, thanks in part to the direct mail campaign costing $67,000, sold 35 cars-more than two-thirds toward its first-year sales quota of 50.

Along with these awards, O&M Direct, Auckland, won a Silver Echo for its "Telecom Home 0800" campaign for Telecom New Zealand. Also, the Singapore office won a Bronze award for a campaign for the South Australian Tourism Commission.

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