7 of the Worst Direct Marketing Campaigns We've Seen...

A while ago we published an article revealing seven of the most creative and inspiring campaigns we had seen. Quite simply - this is the polar opposite! Here are the seven worst direct marketing campaigns we have come across to date…

  1. This brochure for a “Fast Cash CD-ROM System” is comical in its own right and will make your eyes ache trying to take in the information! Loads of underlining, capital letters and stacks of money combine to create a confusing melee of incompatible graphic elements. Sometimes less is more!

  2. This Father’s Day email from Macy’s also has far too much going on! The subject line is promoting Father’s Day gift ideas, yet the first link is for women’s products. Furthermore, there are also links to handbags and kid’s products. In addition to this, there are a further five promos beneath!

  3. Here is an example of one of the most poorly constructed letters we have ever witnessed. Copywriters – look away now! This was created by the now (unsurprisingly) obsolete retail chain American Appliance. The first sentence reads: ‘in honour of Veteran's Day we at American Appliance would like to say "thank you" for your service, and to do something special for you... and all Armed Service Veteran's.’ Things don’t get much better either... 

  4. This postcard, sent jointly from a real estate agent and a bank mortgage specialist, manages to break all the rules of direct marketing. Firstly, the title is obscure in the extreme and offers no explicit or implicit benefit to the headline. The card itself is dominated by a single dense paragraph of text that is unlikely to be read properly. Finally, there is no image whatsoever and the bland typography certainly does not appeal to the reader. 

  5. This direct email from Reiss is a prime example of how not to use call to action buttons (CTAs). CTA buttons are the most crucial element of any direct campaign, as they move the recipient one step along in the purchasing process. Despite Reiss sticking to its white text and maintaining a consistent brand image, it is incredibly difficult to see the CTA in this example. 

  6. Despite this example from Curry’s having a prominent CTA button, there’s far too much text in the email. In an age where people are too busy to spend time reading emails and the majority are opened on mobile devices – you must catch the recipient’s attention immediately. Furthermore, Curry’s also clutter the email with too many promotional offers and reduce the impact of the main message. 

  7. Finally, this comment reveals a rather sour experience of poor targetting of direct mail! Although this may seem humorous, it certainly highlights the importance of keeping your databases in check. 


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