Archive Observations: Recycling What Works
Some old direct mail designs and techniques never die—they just fade away for a while. Take the Web decoder, an acetate game piece that drives users to websites to see if they have won a sweepstakes. This invention of the dot-com era first appeared in the Archive in a mailing by OnMoney.com in July 2000; and, as recently as April 2004, it was used by Verizon for its “On Tour” promotion. In both cases, the sweepstakes (and the need to visit the website) were front-and-center.
But in March, the Web decoder resurfaced in a very different way in an auto insurance offer mailed by AAA (Archive code #420-182432-0803). This time around, the 3˝ x 4˝ game device seems to have been included as more of an afterthought; it’s not mentioned anywhere in the #10 envelope package. That’s rather puzzling, as the prizes are a GPS device or $50,000.
Another old and now new-again format is the venerable interoffice envelope, first introduced in the late 1980s by Greg Dziuba for Book-of-the-Month’s Fortune Book Club. Typically used in B-to-B efforts, it grabs the target customer’s attention and makes a strong connection with customers working in an office environment. A fundraising appeal by Sacred Heart Southern Missions (Archive code #609-175328-0803), a social ministry, uses this format. The last “deliver to” name on the outer of its #10 Kraft “Inter-Department Delivery” envelope is “Fr. Jack”, with an “URGENT” notation in the comment column. In the letter inside, Father Jack Kurps relates how a memo in a routing envelope revealed to him a dire need for replenishing funds his organization needs to aid the poor. The tactic, and the message, work together to put the reader in the shoes of that priest.
Grand Control Update & Profiles
The Archive’s newest Grand Controls (controls in the mail for three or more years) include mailings by the American Red Cross (Archive code #611-174155-0803B), Bottom Line Personal (250-172342-0803), Consumer Reports Foundation (Archive code #601-694698-803), Doctors Without Borders (Archive code #604-179217-0803A0, Forbes Magazine (Archive code #205-171654-0803) and Paralyzed Veterans of America (Archive code #604-171930-0803A & Archive code #604-171930-803C).