Archive Observations: Colleges, Pharmacies & Our Grand Control Update
Nearly every month, the Archive receives mailings from colleges and universities, promoting degree programs (Bachelor's to Doctorate) in various fields. Usually, like in May, the approach to professionals seeking a degree tends to be unemotional and heavily benefits-driven.
The teaser on the #10 outer envelope by Walden University (Archive code #596-172700-0905) asks, "What could you learn from a national network of psychology professionals?" The letter lists specific benefits, each bullet-pointed (e.g., "Gain deep industry insights from diverse points of view"), and includes a reply form for an information packet. Kaplan University (Archive code #596-691568-0905), mailing in a teaser-free #10 outer, promises an IT professional "the flexibility to study on your own schedule," and directs the prospect to a PURL for further information.
DeVry University (Archive code #596-174567-0905), in a mailing for an undergraduate degree program, distinguishes itself because of its teaser on the #10 OE: "A blizzard, a holiday visitor ... and a big money career." "The woman who went the extra mile for John Healey — the true story inside". The letter tells a big story, of an unhappy "big state" university student (i.e., John Healey) who meets a Devry representative in a trip to his jobsite in the middle of a blizzard. Because she lays out the differences between the impersonal big school and the "life-size" DeVry, he transfers and gets a new job before he even graduates. The letter then goes on to talk about a few of DeVry's benefits (nearby locations, flexibility), and offers a "Guide for 49 Hot Careers" to the potential student.
Switch & Save!
In May, the Archive received 2 efforts from pharmacy retailers targeting consumers who have prescriptions. Walgreens (Archive code #910-173479-0905) mailed a splashy two-panel 6" x 9-1/2" self-mailer whose teaser boasts "Our #1 priority is helping you feel your best ... and $25 IN SAVINGS couldn't hurt!" Inside, below photos of smiling people, sales copy includes bullet-pointed benefits of switching one's prescription to the retail chain. On a pocket, the prospect is advised to bring his or her prescription bottles to a local store. An incentive, a $25 check good towards any non-pharmacy purchase, is tucked into the pocket. This is not a new premium for Walgreens, but for years it's been always been mailed in a #10 envelope with a letter noting the company's longevity, as well as the nearest store location and hours.
Mailing in a #10 envelope, CVS/pharmacy (Archive code #910-669946-0905) went with a red-bordered letter asking "Could you use an extra $50?" With colorful icons, the benefits of switching a prescription are listed (e.g., "Over 6,900 locations nationwide, many open 24/7"), and the target customer is given the option of transferring meds either in-store or online. Two coupons are included, each offering a $25 store gift card for a transferred prescription.
Grand Control Update & Profile
The Archive's total number of Grand Controls (controls in the mail for three or more years) edged closer to 1,000 as eight new mailings made the grade in May, including efforts by Forbes (Archive code #205-171654-0905), Greenpeace (Archive code #603-171877-0905), International Campaign for Tibet (Archive code #601-476865-0905), Internet Retailer (Archive code #205-640008-0905), Arbor Day Foundation (Archive code #603-172991-0905), Nightingale-Conant (Archive code #733-171965-0905) and Southern Living (Archive code #101-171600-0905).
An appeal by Volunteers of America (Archive code #611-173657-0905), a human services organization, has been in the mail since at least February 2004, and immediately stands out because it uses a brown lunch bag as the carrier. By itself, this is not news; over the years, we've come across 17 other non-profits that have used this format at one time or another. But in this case, the bag is folded and taped to measure 6" x 6-14". When opened, the letter is printed on the one side on the outside of the bag. The Johnson Box asks the prospective donor: "Please look inside this bag ... then look inside your heart!" The intent is to raise money to provide meals for the homeless and elderly.
Although one may think of a brown bag as an ordinary item, the letter writer feels a bit guilty: "I guess I took having enough to eat for granted. Not any more." Put that way, guilt, an important emotional driver, takes hold. Inside the bag, the reply form, a "best wishes" note card to accompany a meal and the CRE await. FYI: A nearly identical version of this effort was mailed by Volunteers of America in December 2008; the holiday effort was called the "Sidewalk Santa Appeal."