Well, I can't believe it's finally happened. In my years of analyzing mail for the Who's Mailing What! Archive, I've never seen three controls from a single company or organization become Grand Controls (mailed for three years or more) in the same month. Until this past December, that is, when three efforts from the Zoological Society of San Diego reached this exalted status. It should be noted that all of them were mailed to the same people — a husband-and-wife who happen to be longtime members of the zoo — and attempt to increase share of customer.
One mailing (Archive code #576-174159-0912A) has been in the mail since at least October 2006 and capitalizes on the holiday season by offering gift memberships. The #10 outer features pandas (among the San Diego Zoo's most well-known and popular residents) alongside gift boxes and ribbons. Inside, the legal-size letter from the zoo director is truly a model of brevity, just four sentences long.
It's what lies below the close that really does the job: a breakdown of membership levels for adults and kids, with benefits bullet-pointed, and with "value" or savings amounts for many of them in italics. The perfed order form at bottom allows for three separate gift memberships, each having a name and address area shaded to resemble a gift tag.
The zoo also mailed two campaigns to get the couple to upgrade their membership level, and it's the initial effort that really shines. The original version catalogued by the Archive, from December 2004, was mailed in a 6" x 8" cream-colored envelope with the Keeper's Club logo in the corner card. This time, the carrier bears the logo of the Diamond Club (their current member level) in the corner card, alongside the zoo director's signature. The letter, again from zoo director Douglas Myers, uses that connection to pitch a move up to the Keeper's Club level. First, the couple is flattered because they "care about the animals." They are thanked for their "loyal support." Then, they are informed that they are among "a select group of friends whom we consider special "caretakers" for thousands of rare plants and animals (Archive code #576-174159-0912B, see thumbnails below).