How to Write Award Winning Direct Mail Brochure for a Hotel
The Big Idea that Won Me The David Ogilvy Award
I spent 12 years in ‘general advertising’ before I discovered the challenge of direct response and decided to specialise in it, and to date I’ve spent 11 years in this form of advertising. I love a challenge. In 1991 the David Ogilvy Award For Excellence came my way for my direct mailer on the launch of Sheraton Towers in Bangalore. It was a very imaginative concept, drawing on the analogy of photography in order to depict in an interesting manner the excellent service offered by this hotel.
The cream on the cake was a series of the famous Raghu Rai’s photographs in the brochure. Photographs after all, require timing, precision, and focus. This famous photographer’s image would say wonderful things about the hotel. This is why brands love celebrities.
You see only the Sheraton Towers logo on the cover of the brochure. Many ad people believe that every brochure should carry a headline.
Not so. Well-known brands often don’t need headlines.
The Brochure Introduction Defines the Creative Idea
Headline: Sheraton Towers perfects the moment of truth
Sheraton Towers and Raghu Rai are two masters who understand the importance of anticipation and timing. And how they contribute to an experience that is to your complete satisfaction.
In the pages that follow, we offer you an insight into our philosophy and service.
Page 1 of the Direct Mail Brochure on the Launch of Sheraton Towers
At the Sheraton Towers, meticulous timing is a crucial component of the service we offer you. After all, given enough time, anyone could provide you with superlative service. But only a Towers guest can take it for granted from the very first moment.
A moment too late and the dancer in this photograph would have touched down with a tinkle of anklets. However, master photographer, Raghu Rai, has anticipated the perfect moment and captured the dancer’s leap in the click of a shutter.
Photocaption: Meticulous timing captures the perfect moment at the Khajuraho Dance Festival
Page 2 of the Award Winning Brochure
Long before you arrive, we at Sheraton Towers will have noted your personal preferences, and prepared ourselves accordingly. Making us better equipped to anticipate your needs and fulfill them without any delay.
What better setting for the cosmic music of a veena maestro? Sky meets rock, and the boulder stands perfectly balanced like the music about to fill the air. The photographer understands that this perfect balance is essential for a good portrait.
Page 3 of Direct Mail on the Launch of Sheraton Towers
No matter how small the detail, it is not small enough to be overlooked by the Sheraton Towers. For, we believe it is our obsession with the little details that contributes to the Towers experience.
Notice how every detail in this photograph is necessary for its dramatic impact. The richness of the filigreed balconies, the graceful arches, the emptiness of the courtyard paved with marble, and the vulnerability of the child on the altar. Each contributing to create a classic.
Direct Mail on Sheraton Towers Launch Page 4
At the Sheraton Towers, the moment of truth occurs when you realise how the various aspects of our service come together to make your stay a memorable one. And if the experience prompts you to say, “This is where I belong,” we will know we have performed our task well.
Combine the various aspects of Raghu Rai’s technique – anticipation, insight, and detail – and what you have is a masterpiece. In this photograph of a man diving into a pool of monsoon water, Raghu Rai has blended the elements of his craft to perfection. Resulting in an image that truly captures the moment of truth.
In Direct Mail Begin and End with the Promise
NOTE: Now that we have come almost to the end of the brochure with the final page presenting Raghu Rai himself along with a small bio, I chose to write the photocaption (which by the way, is the most read element on a page) in a way that would echo the promise I had made at the beginning – that my target audience would find his stay a memorable one.
Always begin and end with the promise.