It comes in threes.
Our office submitted 19 entries to the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing Tempo Awards earlier this spring. I had to miss the awards ceremony last week while I was in NYC, but we won in nine categories. I wrote six of the winning entries.
A control, as I think I explained in an earlier post, is a direct-mail package that always pulls the most response when it's mailed -- and always beats any other package that it's tested against. It's a Big Deal to have a control in extended circulation, and I used to have two out there raking in the bucks month after month for Citibank. Now I have three. We just found out that a package I wrote to sell Citi's co-branded American AAdvantage credit card to college students not only beat the current control, but -- in an world where a 2% response rate is the norm -- it pulled a whopping 40%.
We just had our monthly staff meeting where we hear news about the company, introduce new employees, showcase prominent creative (today it was the abovementioned control-buster) and bestow the crown for "Brann's Best," which is awarded to an employee nominated by his or her peers for personifying the company's core values, demonstrating leadership, and unofficially sacrificing the most personal life for the corporate bottom line (and apparently to help finance the president's new bass boat). Guess who won. Not only did I get a nice chunk of cash and this butt-ugly trophy that the Brann's Best winner is obligated to display for a whole month, but the president read these glowing emails about me written by my colleagues. (Apparently I've convinced everyone here that I have a "great attitude.") It's enough to make a guy tear up.