Archive Observations: Identity Theft & Bank Mailings
Guarding your good name from identity theft is a growing challenge, and the focus of two efforts mailed in November. The front of LifeLock’s 6˝ x 11˝ postcard asks “Worried About Identity Theft?” and features a photo of its CEO, Todd Davis, confidently holding his Social Security card in front of him. In the copy, he reveals his actual Social Security number, confidently bolstering his company’s hefty $1 million identity protection guarantee. Talk about standing behind your promises! The 30-day free trial offer briefly runs down the benefits of membership, such as credit fraud alerts and reduced junk mail (ahem!), and also includes a 15 percent discount as an additional incentive (Archive code #358-712781-0711).
American Express opted for a more low-key approach, sticking with a teaser-free, 4-1/4˝ x 9-1/4˝ envelope that has worked since at least May 2005. The letter attempts to make the case for cardmembers to enroll in its Identity Protection program. Unlike LifeLock, however, AmEx doesn’t promise proactive protection, just theft recovery costs, up to $15,000 (Archive code #545-172047-0711).
Traditional banks try to lure customers to their doors by promoting services, such as free checking, or more convenient locations and business hours. But two banking offers from investment management companies try to get the prospect to view their product as a smart investment. Proclaiming its account as the “biggest thing in checking since checks,” Charles Schwab Bank offers earnings of 4.00% on its High Yield Investor Checking Account. As an added appeal to the investment-savvy, a brokerage account is part of the deal (Archive code #536-172550-0711). Fidelity Investments attempts to stand apart from “your traditional checking account”: Each panel of its 5-3/4˝ x 6˝ self-mailer highlights a different aspect of its mySmart Cash Account, such as easy management, no ATM fees and “great rates” (Archive code #536-174076-0711).
Grand Control Update
In November, the Archive welcomed six Grand Controls (controls in the mail for three or more years) to its almost 800-strong roster, including mailings by The Bowery Mission (Archive code #611-403005-0711Z), Omaha Steaks (Archive code #355-171626-0711CZ), Children’s Aid Society (Archive code #613-172949-0711Z) and WLIW21 (Archive code #602-174924-0711Z).
Since at least September 2002, the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence has been mailing a campaign to lobby the U.S. Congress to further restrict gun sales at gun shows. In addition to petitions, a long-time staple of nonprofit fundraising efforts, the real stars of the package are strong emotional appeals from Jim Brady (paralyzed in the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt in 1981) and his wife Sarah (Archive code #601-178109-0711Z).
An American Express offer for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is one of the rare Grand Controls in the financial services sector, mailed since at least September 2004. The main benefits (additional bonus miles to qualify for free travel, fee waivers, pre-approval status) haven’t changed and some minor design changes were made to the package to keep its appearance fresh (Archive code #541-172047-0711CZ).