Samuel Estrada: Direct Hits

By Brett McKenzie Posted on Mar 25, 2017

Direct marketing has taken a seismic shift since the days of printed mailers and unsolicited phone calls, and nowhere is that more evident than in the judging room for the 2017 One Show Direct Marketing Jury. Thirteen esteemed judges representing ten different countries huddled over hundreds of innovative submissions, all in awe with how much this segment of the advertising industry had changed.

Between the debates and decisions, we managed to catch up with one of the jury members to chat about his career and his experiences, both in the judging room and in the transforming industry ecosystem.

Samuel Estrada
CCO & Managing Director, McCann, Colombia

One Show Direct Marketing Jury


How did this crazy adventure into the world of advertising begin for you?

I remember when I was young, I used to see TV commercials, and I felt like they weren’t doing them right, they weren’t talking to people in a manner that was very convincing. That was my motivation to break into the industry. It was less of a need to be creative or artistic, and more of a desire to persuade people.

Do you remember your first award?

Oh, it seems like such a long time ago! I think it was around 1997. It was just a local award show, but it was really exciting to have your peers recognize the work that you do. Admittedly, the rush is kind of addictive (laughs).

There is a lot of frustration embedded into this line of work. We are always taught that agencies are here to sell ideas, and when ideas get rejected, it’s crushing. You know in your heart that a lot of love went into finding a solution. But when you win an award for a project that a client believed in, one that made a difference, it’s immensely satisfying.

That said awards can sometimes seem too complicated. Here at judging, we are grading work on a scale, and while I’m sure there are some mathematical statistics that will help calculate Gold from Silver from Bronze, for me, it’s not about the points, the stats. It’s simply the joy in celebrating work and being recognized for your accomplishments.


You’re here judging the Direct Marketing discipline. Now if you went back fifteen years or more, this would be considered a very unsexy segment of advertising, essentially B2B packages and cardstock stuffed into your mailbox. But that’s not what you’re seeing in 2017, is it?

Not at all! Direct has been totally reinvented by implementing two other D-words: Digital and Data. It’s a whole new world now, and the possibilities are endless. You know everyone’s name, their age, their marital status, their likes, their dislikes, their hobbies, all at a level that we couldn’t dream of a decade ago. People are actually happy to leave their data behind! In my point of view, the one to one interaction of today’s direct marketing has made it the most compelling way to reach people.


Since by its very nature direct marketing is a one-to-one experience, there must be a number of entries that you’re judging this week that are all-new to your eyes. Care to give any examples of ones that stand out to you?

You’re right, there are quite a few submissions that I was discovering for the first time  that really impressed me. One example I could give is the Adidas clothing collection that was designed by people using Snapchat. It took advantage of technology in a way that I had never seen before, and it really got me excited.

One thing that I really like about the One Show is the quarterly entry process. This means that the work we are judging here, for the most part, is very fresh and new. This allows for way more surprises than the one I mentioned here.

The 2017 One Show and ADC 96th Annual Awards will be presented during Creative Week, May 8–12, 2017. Tickets and info can be found here.



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