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Direct marketing used to be easy to define. And thus good direct marketing was easier to recognize. But now the market is a conversation. Almost every communication action seeks to generate a consumer reaction, and every digital experience seeks to generate engagement through interaction. In short, isn't everything direct?

And so, in 2008, we see ideas that some would label as 'awareness generating' winning Cannes Direct Lions. Yet that work is unlikely to win at the other direct award juggernaut, the US DMA Echo Awards. The latter has traditionally focused on inspired approaches to mainstream direct marketing strategy. Two shows: two definitions of excellence.

So how have we defined 'good'? For this year's WPPED CREAM Direct Category, we posed three simple tests to isolate great direct marketing.

It had to be targeted at a discrete group of people, and it had to be built on insight into that group. It had to be a stand-out, engaging, persuasive idea that linked the product promise to the consumer need. And it had to have measurably worked. Because, ultimately, if you can't count how good it is, it isn't direct marketing.

A simple approach. But I think it has found some fine work from around the WPP world.

The Crème de la Crème is a triumphant idea. And proof, incidentally, that it is ideas, not simple technique, that move people to take action. Brilliantly conceived, beaut i fully executed with growing confidence across a range of media, this campaign makes a difficult task look effortless. Oh yes, and it worked.