A Surprise Ending
Christmas seems to creep up a little earlier every year. Normally, one can stave off the telltale jingle of sleigh bells at least until the remaining Thanksgiving leftovers have been digested, yet Oxmoor House has other ideas. Every year, the book-publishing division of Birmingham, Ala.-based company Southern Progress sends out tests for its “Christmas with Southern Living” book promotion package at a time when snow cones, rather than snowmen, are more likely to be on the mind. But according to Oxmoor Senior Promotions Manager Julie Doll, it’s this disconnect that could explain why an effort promoting a book that has been in production for over two decades continues to pull response after all these years.
Although it bucks the Christmas mailing schedule by at least a couple of months, Oxmoor House’s June drop date remains one of the few perennial elements of a direct mail campaign that is tested consistently and often. Doll explains the incongruity as an effort to reach prospects at a time when they fully can entertain the wonder of the holiday to come rather than the stress that is likely to take center stage once the season’s in full swing. “I know a lot of people think of Christmas as a hassle, and maybe a reason why it does well in June is that we put such a positive spin on Christmas when we’re promoting this. … We never talk about Christmas in a negative way.”
Once results from its first round of tests begin to come in, Oxmoor House typically follows the summer drop with a more timely rollout in September, when it tempts prospects once more with whichever June package proved most successful. And like its first appearance in the mailstream, 2006’s winning effort has a few surprising details of its own (Archive code #101-171600-0610).