Congratulations to all of the 35 agencies that took part in the IAPI An Post Direct Challenge contributing a total of 67 entries. The standard and variety of the work on display was staggering and the response on the deadline day was overwhelming with the doorbell ringing non-stop as we came up to the 5.30pm deadline.

The judging panel consisted of IAPI CEO Charley Stoney, legendary ad man Trevor Beattie, formative figure in Irish Advertising John Fanning, and master copywriter Gai Griffin. They had a tough task in front of them as no two pieces were exactly the same. Even when agencies had chosen the same charity, for example testicular cancer, all three agencies that had chosen the same charity approached it with a different piece of work and that was fascinating.

Eibhin Eviston, Mail Media Manager for An Post said "With nearly 70 entries received for this, the first year of the Award, we were highly impressed with the quality of the submissions. Clearly, the Direct Challenge’s charitable objective played a big part in the focus of those who entered and that passion generated some highly creative work, worthy of many future inspirational Direct Mail campaigns.”

We hope the work shown in the video below will spur agencies on to create interesting and exciting direct mail campaigns. Some of the pieces designed and entered into the competition elicited an immediate emotional response from the judges and that powerful connection to a piece of mail is priceless.

At the Award Night the judges spoke about their favourite elements of the campaigns and what people should think about when crafting Direct Mail campaigns.

Trevor Beattie talked about the importance of simplicity, and understanding your audience. He believes that first impressions are so important and the piece needs to be really specific and really targeted.

The craftsmanship in some of the prototypes was sensational and highly praised. Many agencies had gone to great lengths to create their pieces and there was some beautiful art direction on show.

The judges also spoke about the tactile nature of Direct Mail. It’s not just visual, but tangible. Play with this - make your piece something that we want to touch or feel.

Ensure that the response mechanism in your piece is strong and the Call to Action is clear and simple. Trevor's most important piece of advice is "Be Direct!" You can say a lot with very little.

Also some teams spent a lot on their entry, others spent a little but they are equally as good as the other. It comes down to the simplicity of things, innovative ideas and the crafting of the copy.

The four campaigns shortlisted for the final award in the IAPI An Post Direct Challenge and discussed in greater detail by the judges on the Direct Challenge Award Night in Opium on Thursday 27th February were:

  • Core for Homeless Period Ireland by Helena Jones, Jo Mullins, Gar Lyons.
  • McCann Blue for Médecins Sans Frontières by Aoife Flynn, Laurence Keogh, Ciaran Williams.
  • TBWA\Dublin for Women’s Aid by Eva Redmond, Zoe Perrin, Aoife McCarthy.
  • Publicis for Alzheimers Society of Ireland by Ronan Nulty, Matthieu Chardon, Niamh Ryan.

Ultimately, Publicis Dublin emerged as the winner of the An Post IAPI Direct Challenge. As part of the agency’s winning entry, it created a direct mail ad campaign for its nominated charity The Alzheimer's Society of Ireland called ‘Do You Recognise Your Details?’

The campaign would target high-profile individuals with bespoke imperfect copy. The reader goes on a journey over the course of the letter initially becoming quite annoyed that somebody has gotten so much wrong and wondering what this is all about. The potency of the final message and the emotional jolt when you realise why the details are wrong was felt across the board by all the judges.

"Details not quite right. When strangers need to remind you of your life story the details won't matter. You won't recognise if they are right or wrong. Life with Alzheimer's is one of fear and confusion. It could be you some day. Let's find a cure. Donate at Thank You."

The agency team picked up a prize of a week at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival in June and the charity will benefit from an An Post Direct Mail ad campaign to the value of €20,000.


The winning team from Publicis pictured left to right: Ronan Nulty, Niamh Ryan & Matthieu Chardon.