A Bold Outer Gets Opened
To get prospects inside a mailing, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand teaser lines. Many postcards and self-mailers are carried by an image on the billboard side of the outer, but rarely does an envelope package deliver a punch with only a full-bleed image on the front.
In its September mailing, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) uses an image that telegraphs the message of its organization on its control acquisition mailing. About four years go, it began using the image of two men standing in front of the Capitol building wearing traditional American Indian dress (Archive code #576-435581-0809).
“We’ve always been looking for a good image that will instantly evoke what the museum is about … Yes, we’re about objects … but mainly we’re more about people and cultures,” describes Edison R. Wato Jr., membership
program director with the museum. “This picture just tells of us being the NMAI, here in the nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C.”
“It’s four-color, and it’s very identifiable. That’s always the first rule of direct mail: to try and differentiate your package,” explains Wato, who says the organization originally found the image, taken at a 2002 powwow, in its photo archives. On the back of the outer is the teaser copy, “Your Free Gift Enclosed,” along with the Smithsonian and NMAI logos. NMAI is required to use the Smithsonian sunburst logo in all of its communications. To stand out as its own entity, the NMAI has adopted a type block logo. “That was another reason why we chose the image of the two men—to differentiate our mailings from acquisition mailings that go out from the other programs,” Wato adds.
Inside the package are a three-page letter, a sheet of personalized address labels with a reply perfed to the top, three note cards with festive photographs on them, three blank envelopes and a BRE. The organization mails acquisition efforts five times a year to lists of about 250,000 to 400,000 prospects.