A Collision of Creative and Current Events
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, advertising agencies and marketer managers scrambled to review their creative approaches for upcoming campaigns, just in case the visuals or copy included anything that might be insensitive in light of the recent tragedies.
But what if your campaign was already in the mail? And what if the image on the back of your outer envelope was of a Muslim woman peering out from behind her veil with the headline, "Can Islam and democracy mix?," run above the photo? That was the case for The Economist, which dropped this campaign one week before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Hilde Sprung, promotion manager for The Economist, figured she had a 50-50 chance for success with this mailing. To add another level of dimension to this scenario, the campaign was a rollout effort for a new package that beat the magalog five-year control on the test mailing back in April.
"We were very frightened with that [particular image] dropping. We didn't know how people would react," Sprung says. Fortunately, the mailing's message resonated with the audience, and the campaign pulled even better response than that of the first two test panels.
Created by Talley & Tabatch, a direct marketing creative team composed of copywriter Terry Talley and designer Linda Tabatch, the mailing is a 9" x 12" envelope package that centers around a quote from Edward Lorenz' Chaos Theory: "When a butterfly flutters its wings in one part of the world, it can eventually cause a hurricane in another..." The quote is set on a deep blue background on the addressing side of the outer envelope. This theme is carried over into the four-page letter and the 81/2" x 103/4" brochure, which folds out lengthwise to 103/4" x 251/2".
According to Terry Talley, one of the greatest strength's of The Economist is its global perspective, and that's what she wanted to emphasize in the new creative. This goal led her to remember the Chaos Theory, which she looked up on the Internet for the author's name and this powerful quote that became the package's driving theme.
Another highlight of the mailing is the L-shaped order card, which presents the prospect with an "agenda of benefits" on the stub portion. When the client has a strong offer with several freebies, Talley says, it can be presented in a more powerful waysomething that complements the standard offer summation. By listing all five offer elements individually, The Economist presents the value proposition in the best light.
A BRE and a four-color insert that promotes the premium, a forecast of world trends for 2002, round out the package.
In addition to the mailing performing well on the front end, Sprung sees the strong pay-up rate as an indication that this mailing could have a good future ahead of it. She believes that not only is this package written and designed well, but the copy strategy is not based heavily on examples of what has appeared in the magazinewhich means it's not continually dated.
Although the test package won out in two separate mail drops, Sprung will not retire the magalog control until the results of the December drop.
This mailing also will feature a new image for the back panel of the outer envelope. Sprung is anxious to see if the mailing continues to dominateher group as been trying to beat the magalog for years.