JCDecaux: Sends out the worst mailing ever in the history of direct mail

May 26, 2016Filed under Promo, Direct Marketing and Media, Publications

This year, JCDecaux, well-known for their 2m2 billboards, caused a bit of a stir amongst advertisers. JCDecaux sent out a direct mail to tell them about their outdoor opportunities. Every advertiser received a miniature 2m2 billboard featuring one of its own ads. 

Thoughtful. Except they made a huge mistake, one you’d never want to make with your clients. JCDecaux had confused their biggest clients’ products with those of their biggest competitor. Nike received a miniature 2m2 billboard for their Nike Stan Smith. Dior for their Dior No5, Apple for their Apple Xperia, etc. This obviously caused a strong reaction amongst the marketing directors. 

As a major advertiser, there’s nothing as frustrating as being confused with your closest competitor. And no one understands this frustration better than JCDecaux. Why? Because they experience it every day. Most advertisers think that that they should go to JCDecaux’s biggest competitor for other formats. 

This is certainly a mistake. Because JCDecaux also offers larger formats. JCDecaux apologised for their intentional error in an accompanying letter. “We are sorry we have intentionally mistaken you for a competitor. We just wanted to let you know how we feel every day. But we assure you that if you choose our networks for your next campaign, it would not be a mistake.“ 

The most erroneous mailing ever later turned out to be the right one. Because demand for larger formats rose by 15%, which means that their larger formats are 100% sold out for the next six months.

Advertising Agency:BBDO, Brussels, Belgium
Creative Director:Arnaud Pitz & Sebastien De Valck
Associate Creative Director:Klaartje Galle
Creative Team:Toon Vanpoucke & Morgane Choppinet
Account Supervisor:Isabel Peeters
Account Manager:Marleen Depreter
Strategic Planner:Tom Vingerhoets, Jan Van Brakel
Advertiser Supervisor:Veerle Colin
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