Archive Observations: A Look at the Ex-Files
Grand Control Update & Profile
In March, the overall count of Grand Controls (controls in the mail for three or more years) inched closer to 1000, as 13 new mailings joined the crowd. Among those added were offers from the Parkinson Research Foundation (Archive code #604-705180-0903), St. Jude's League (Archive code #609-174565-0903), Mutual of Omaha (Archive code #450-171627-0903), The New Yorker (Archive code #202-171630-0903), and three from Omaha Steaks (Archive codes #355-171626-0903B, #355-171626-0903C and #910-171626-0903).
The offer for the consumer newsletter DogWatch (Archive code #250-433382-0903) has been in the mail since at least March 2001-and given the classic tactics it uses, it's easy to see why it works. The bold teaser on the front of the #12 OSE is certainly attention-getting: "THINK LIKE A DOG." From the rest of the teaser copy on the front, as well as the fascinations-like questions on the back, it seems that the veterinarians at the newsletter want the dog owner (the prospect), to practice some "method marketing" by following their advice. The letter promises that the "secret" information that allows some people to happily raise their dog can be found in the pages of the newsletter, and answers to the questions from the outer envelope are also provided.
Knowledge is reinforced as an important selling point in the lift note, which tells a story that borrows heavily from Martin Conroy's classic Wall Street Journal Grand Control, the "2 Young Men" letter. "What makes the difference in a dog's behavior?" it asks, and then answers, "what each pet owner knows." By my reckoning, this is the most successful Conroy imitation of the dozen or so instances in which I've seen it used.
Another throwback is the inclusion of the YES, NO and MAYBE stickers on the reply card. Invented by John Francis Tighe, they've been rarely used over the years, most notably in offers for American Demographics and Financial World magazines. Here, they show through a square window on the outer envelope, working in combination with the magic word "free" that appears twice.