Big Changes Afoot at National Geographic
National Geographic made a sizeable change to its acquisition program in November, weighing in with an in-line produced, 10-1/2" x 12-1/2" envelope package that is too "big" not to get noticed in the mail stream (202NAGEMA1102A).
For the outer envelope, National Geographic reproduced one of its magazine covers, which features a close-up shot of a roaring grizzly bear. No questions here on why it decided to go with this photograph for cover art. The outer literally screams, "Open me!" Off to the right, a yearly subscription offer for $19 is displayed in large, blocky lettering set within the gold frame of National Geographic's magazine cover.
On the back of the envelope, personalization is used on the bottom: "JANE DOE ... Your support is vital to National Geographic's mission to increase global understanding and promote conservation of our planet through exploration, research and education." This technique is impactful since the copy appears just below the flap that the recipient must pull back to open the package. On the top of the flap, above where it says "Lift Here," a premium offer of National Geographic's 100 Best Pictures, a portfolio of the most poignant and dramatic photographs culled from the pages of the magazine, is presented in glowing color. Also on the back flap, blaring red copy implores: "DO NOT BEND," which signals that there might be something of value inside. Most times when recipients receive a package with this warning printed on it, they immediately think: Photosor something of the kind.
The recipient then opens the flap to find just four elements: a two-page letter, a membership acceptance form, a four-color glossy insert, and a BRE.
All throughout the package, National Geographic presents the idea of "big."
The letter begins with the headline: "It really is BIG news ... Only $19 to see the world!" The lead of the letter continues with the theme:
What's almost bigger than the world itself? How much we still have to learn about our planet.
On the membership acceptance form, "5 BIG Benefits" are presented (Big Savings, Big Pictures, Big Maps, Big Articles and Big Mission). On the glossy insert, the copywriter asks the question: "Are you ready for big adventures?"
This intertwining "big" theme is designed to set up the offer of a $19 yearly subscription plus the premium. This package is a dramatic change from the magazine's usually smaller, more invitational approach based on membership and flattery. This time around, it has taken a promo-tional slant, touting the benefits of becoming a member of National Geographic. With this package, the recipient learns more of what they will get, than who they areor could beas a potential subscriber.
We'll see if National Geographic's recent effort is "big" enough to break through the clutter and lift response.