The New England Direct Marketing Association last week paid tribute to what some consider the lowest form of advertising: the low-cost direct mail piece.
Organizers of the 8-year-old Direct Marketing on a Shoestring Awards believe that any agency with a large budget can produce effective, award-caliber pieces of communication. It's much more difficult to create packages that get results on almost no budget.
Best of show honors went to Harvard Business School Publishing for a CD set titled, "There's Never Been a Better Case for Multimedia Learning."
A pro bono category, Cheap for a Good Cause, was introduced this year, in addition to the usual divisions: Does That Include Postage? which are for pieces designed and delivered for between $10,000-20,000; What? That's All You Have? (budget: $1,000-10,000); and You Gotta Be Kidding (under $1,000).
Sullivan Creative in Boston won in the pro bono division for its invitations to events hosted by the Boston chapter of the Society of Marketing Professional Services and Families First.
The Harvard Business piece took top prize in the $10,000-20,000 category.
The winner in the $1,000-10,000 category was Bianco Marchilonis Design in Boston for a series of three posters created for Technology in Medicine, which was pitching and won a new client.
Ironically, the winner in the under $1,000 category was awarded to Boston-based Direct Results Group for a rich-looking invitation that contained chocolates and champagne in a velvet bag. DRG sent the package to Cambridge Savings Bank to invite its new client to a celebration victory. Not surprisingly, the piece received a 100 percent response.
First-, second- and third-place finishers in all categories were exhibited before the show, and teams were given an opportunity to describe what went into making the piece as well as the results.
NEDMA's board of directors voted recently to open next year's show to agencies and clients located outside New England.