Colin Wheildon on Direct Mail Design
I say “probably” because about 13 years ago David Ogilvy told me that in the 1930s, George Gallup—then research director at Young and Rubicam—came up with almost identical findings to mine on most of the elements I researched. Gallup measured the readership of advertisements and found that certain techniques out-performed others, but he didn’t, as far as I can determine, measure the effects of individual typographic elements.
TG: What advice would you offer direct mail designers?
CW: Keep it simple and test your material before you burst into print. A cautionary tale: I have a copy of a direct response newspaper advertisement for Land Rover four-wheel drive vehicles. It shows the vehicles on a dark landscape with the text reversed onto the dark sky. The text includes a coupon for the potential customer to complete and mail in to receive additional material about the vehicle. The advertisement elicited a very poor response, the reason being that to fill in the reversed coupon, the reader needed to use a white ink pen, and who has a white ink pen handy? I rest my case.
[From the March 2006 issue of Inside Direct Mail, a sister publication to Target Marketing. To learn more about Inside Direct Mail, visit http://www.insidedirectmail.com.]