Archive Observations: Where the Boys ... Aren't
Gender-specific vacations are not exactly new to direct mail—for example, golf trip packages heavily target men. But two offers received by the Archive in December for the first time promote "girlcations." Tour operator Overseas Adventure Travel (Archive code #501-172254-0812) mailed a 5-1/2" x 8-1/4" invitation-style offer for a women's "Only Get Together." The event, with two East Coast locations, is intended to preview the launch of women's-only trips (based on surveys and feedback from female travelers).
Cavil Point Lodge, a spa near San Francisco, mailed a 6" x 9" postcard promoting “The Girls’ Getaway Weekend” package. The front of the mailing, featuring two women in a sauna, sums up the experience of relaxing with one's girlfriends as a chance to have fun separate from men, children, work or problems. For many, it's at last time to recognize that we all need time together and time apart.
Say the Magic Word
Like the Emperor without clothes, the recession is a fact that direct mailers have been slow to recognize in direct mail. That began to change in December. As one might expect, nonprofits were all over it. For example, the Hydrocephalus Association (Archive code #604-641686-0812) refers to the "roller coaster economy" in its effort, while the Food Bank of New York City (Archive code #611-172876-0812) is decisively more downbeat, positing that while "most of us will find comfort" despite the crisis, many will have "little to celebrate this holiday season." Alone among financial service marketers, Discover Financial Services (Archive code #536-174144-0812), in an offer for savings accounts mailed to AAA members, acknowledges that the economy "Might make you nervous about where to put your hard-earned dollars," and promotes its high interest rates to soothe those fears.
Telecom companies have been the quickest to reposition their services as cost-effective in a down economy. Quest (Archive code #808-476112-0812A) reached out to its business customers with an offer for an account review. The front of its 6" x 9" self-mailer is a picture of a stock market trading board, with a mostly down indicator, but the reassurance that "there are some things you can still count on." And anticipating legislation that was passed earlier this year, the front of Comcast's #10 OSE proclaims "Introducing our Entertainment Stimulus Package!" The flyer inside offers "economy" video and Internet service (Archive code #581-176804-0812B). Offering lower-priced alternative services is a good way to attract or keep customers until the present storm passes.
Grand Control Update & Profile
Filling out the year's honor roll of the Archive's Grand Controls (controls in the mail for three or more years) are six mailings, including efforts by Smithsonian magazine (Archive code #710-691321-0812), Special Olympics (Archive code #607-171772-0812) and Save the Children (Archive code #613-172763-0812).
The hallmark of the acquisition package by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (Archive code #604-171931-0812) is its letter, mailed in a #10 OSE. It skillfully weaves the story of Max, a blind child who couldn't read at age 11, into an appeal for textbook recordings for students. Rather than trade in on pity, the writer gushes with optimism, pointing out the success the boy has achieved, and that other children can experience, with the proper learning materials. The ask amounts on the order form correspond to explanations below the fold, which also include a graphic illustration of what each amount provides.