Ray Jutkins, RUB – R.I.P.
The pantheon of great living direct marketers was diminished by the passing of "Rocket Ray" Jutkins at the young age of 69. Jutkins was one of the great practitioners of the art and science of direct marketing and a very great speaker, presenter and seminar giver. We once were both appearing at a Phoenix direct marketing conference. I arrived with my pathetic little Apple PowerBook and slide show made up entirely of black words on a white screen. Jutkins showed up with a luggage roller filled with electronics that would make a dance hall DJ green with envy. I asked Ray what he paid for that rig and, as I recall, it was somewhere around $15,000. Maybe it was $25,000. Whatever it was, I was agog.
Was Ray's presentation better than mine? Oh, yes. With moving pictures, sound, bright dancing colors and razzle-dazzle graphics, the business of direct marketing came alive. His lead was a stopper. On screen was a huge photograph of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle upon which sat a helmeted H.O.G (Harley Owner's Group) dressed head to toe in sinister black leather with the requisite boots. The face was concealed behind a dark sunscreen built into the helmet, but I guaran-damn-tee-ya he was one mean-looking mother.
Jutkins, who sported a white beard and twinkling, Santa Claus demeanor (he was thin enough to go down a chimney) would start off by badmouthing this obvious villain on the screen.
"You are direct marketers," he would start. "Who is this guy? How do you sell him? What do you say to him?" Jutkins would then verbalize all the negative thoughts going through the audience's head – ”Hell's Angels, noise, criminal behavior. He was funny as hell.
"Okay," he would say. "Now we know all about this guy. Let's look him in the eye."
The next slide was that same biker on the bike, but without the helmet.
It was Ray, benign, grandfatherly, lovable.
Ray loved that bike the way Howard Hughes loved airplanes. Happiness to Ray was spending quality time with his granddaughter taking her across country on the bike.
One story – maybe apocryphal but I think true – was a gig Ray did for the Capetown, South African Direct Marketing Association. According to my source, Ray wanted to make a spectacular entrance, so he rented a Harley, and when he was introduced, he gunned the engine and, wearing his evil-looking helmet and black leather, rode it slowly down the center aisle of the hall. The brakes failed and Ray kept on going. The back wall was a curtain and he went through that and crashed into the back wall and on into another business meeting. Ray was unhurt, but he must have had some explaining to do.
What would you call Ray. On databases everywhere, he would be a RUB – Rich Urban Biker. I would call him one spectacular, fun, funny, brilliant guy who made a lot of money for his clients and made direct marketing come alive for his audiences.
How we will miss him!
Do you have a favorite Ray Jutkins story?
If so, please send it along to and I'll make it part of this website.
With fond memories of Ray and with deep respect for his family.