A Surprise Ending
Arriving in a glossy, 6˝ x 11-1⁄2˝ paper outer, which Doll says seems to work especially well for both Southern Living’s Christmas and cooking packages, this mailing outpulled a control that had been holding strong for the past several years. While it shares many of the characteristics that made the former piece a standout (including offer and format), it has a revamped design that Doll notes is a contributing factor to its success. “It has a totally different look … newer and fresher, with the bolder Christmas colors,” she adds.
True to form, this version appears in a bright red-and-green color scheme that, Doll says, is a lively contrast to the subdued hues and more upscale appearance of the previous control. The outer envelope greets prospects with the copy, “This Year Christmas Comes Early For You!” emblazoned across its address panel, with the mailing’s offerings prominently teased in a one-two-three listing of its giveaways:
FREE fabulous quilted tote…
FREE Christmas recipes to try-out now…
FREE chance to get a CUISINART stainless steel slow cooker!
On the outer’s other side, the word “Free” is featured three more times. Interestingly, this “three-peat” tactic is one the Archive has seen on previous efforts from Southern Living, and while it hasn’t been tested, Doll surmises, “I guess we do try to stick to three ‘Frees.’ When you’ve got just two of something, it’s not as powerful as ‘Free, Free, Free.’”
Inside, the mailing includes a four-page letter from Rebecca Brennan, editor of the holiday publication; a trifold, glossy pamphlet featuring the recipes, home décor, gift ideas and crafts detailed in the book; and another folded insert with information on both premium promotions: a quilted tote bag just for responding and the slow cooker fast fifty offer. A cardstock reply device is perfed to an offer summary, and on its reverse, the Southern Living unconditional guarantee and an ink-jetted personal note with a handwritten look are included. Appearing on a yellow background, the note is designed to make the piece slightly more personal, both drawing the prospect’s eye and reinforcing the discount and special offer, Doll maintains.