Archaeology Magazine Uses Gore to Lure
Coming up with a teaser that conveys the value and tenor of your productand lures prospects insidecan be a challenge for any company. Especially if you're trying to sell a niche product that's somewhat weighty.
Archaeology magazine, a publication of recent discoveries and controversies in the world of archaeology, seems to have conquered that direct mail conundrum (202ARCHAE0604X). Its new #10 double poly envelope control offering a risk-free issue was unearthed in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in July wearing the enticing teaser, "Long before Hannibal Lecter, there was the 'Colorado Cannibal.' We knew he was a maneater. But was he a murderer too?"
According to Fran Kane, circulation director for Archaeology, the teaser used on the prior, 12-year control was about human sacrifice and, though horrible and gruesome, she can't deny the success their direct mail efforts have had with these gory hooks.
Kane says this mailing tested against a "patriotic package" with a more humanistic theme, which bombed in the mail.
Never one to tease without providing hardcore information, Kane says, the mailing devotes a 7" x 7-3/4" folded lift note to the sordid story behind the teaserthe only place in the mailing that features the pay off.
The concept for this packagewhich was tested last year and is the new control as of July 2004was developed by copywriter Mark Gauthier. Kane had tried numerous times to beat the last controltwice before with Gauthierand credits the teaser and the shift in the letter's format from telling a story to bullet-pointing what the magazine offers readers with the mailing's success.
"[The letter] got people in immediately," says Kane. "There weren't heavy blocks of type."
Whereas the prior control's copy focused on the "intellectually adventuresome and uncommonly well-read" qualities of recipients, this mailing was written to appeal to a younger readership accustomed to receiving information in shorter spurts. The letter relies on what Kane refers to as "TV soundbites," using a "who, what, when, where and why" approach to show the magazine's editorial focus and pique the interest of prospects.
The mailing's 8-1/2" x 11", three-panel flyer uses the same soundbite approach:
DISCOVER: what a jaw from southeastern France tells us about how early Neandertals cared for the sick.
LEARN: how archaeologists study the hedonistic ways of ancient Rome's upper classes by examining their garbage.
EXPLORE: a real emerald citythe ancient emerald mine of Sikait in Egypt.
MARVEL: at finds in northern Israel proving that 780,000 years ago, pistachios and almonds were favorite parts of the popular diet.
The approach, says Kane, has payed offand then some.
"I think when you're out there now in a marketing sense and you see what you're competing against, you see TV and you see those soundbites," she says. "To get the consumer to buy the product and look at it, you need to give them something they're familiar with. This letter appeals more to what people are used to seeing in their day-to-day lives."
"Even in the tests, it far exceeded any predictions we could have thought," she adds. "We have done well above industry averages, well above our own projections, well above our own history."