Transporting Recipients to Another World
For many across the country, April tends to be a rainy, dreary month. In other words, the perfect time to be swept away with thoughts of your next vacation. Capitalizing on this dynamic, the Cunard Line, the cruise line brand of the Queen Mary 2, sent a direct mail piece to prospects in late April touting its luxurious voyages to the Caribbean and Europe. The uniquely folded brochure arrived in prospects' mailboxes consisting of just one sheet of paper and served as the perfect stimulant to help recipients transport themselves to a luxury-filled cruise aboard the 5-year-old vessel.
The front of the brochure prominently displays a picturesque scene of the ocean liner cruising along at sunset, with a headline that plays off both its aspirational theme and the mail piece itself: "A realm of untold elegance unfolds within ..."
"We didn't want to put too much information on the front cover because we want the ship to be the primary focus," says Jamie Clark, marketing specialist for the Cunard Line. "And then we wanted them to be teased in by the headline."
Along with the ship's image and headline, the front cover contains a text box advertising promotional offers. This represents a toned-down version of the text box compared to the back cover, where the specials are given in more detail. This was strategically done so the text wouldn't take away from the brand-building influence of the front cover. On the back cover, the text blends in more easily with the busier mail panel—all done with the intention of pushing recipients inside the mailing for details on specific voyages.
Handling the copywriting and creative layout for the campaign was G2, Cunard's Los Angeles-based direct marketing agency, along with its own in-house marketing team. One particularly unique feature regarding the brochure's layout is the far-left flap is written so it seamlessly integrates with either the far-right flap folded over or when lined up with the adjacent middle panel. Both messages speak to the "Golden Age of Ocean Travel," a theme repeated throughout the mailing (Archive code #501-172393-0905).
More of a promotional/retail type mailing than Cunard's normal direct mail pieces, the Queen Mary 2 campaign had two objectives, says Clark: one, drive recipients into the brochure to the offers, in the hopes of getting them to make reservations; and two, educate them on the Cunard brand, specifically its flagship Queen Mary 2, so if they don't book right away they at least get a sense of who Cunard Lines is.
And so far, so good. To date, the campaign's response has exceeded company expectations, especially in light of the down economy. Cunard Lines also is saving money with the slimmed-down mail piece.
"Normally this piece is a large 8½" x 11" format with up to 24 pages," says Clark, who is also quick to note that Cunard has mailed this one-sheet brochure format before. "We saw this format as an opportunity to reduce the total costs of creating the mail piece while offering that audience something new in their mailbox. Because we so often send bigger pieces, some of the audience may have become conditioned to seeing them. So this is a great opportunity to give them something new and inviting."
The rectangular-shaped piece is sealed with three wafer seals, a fact that initially caused some concern among Cunard's marketing team who believed this may inhibit response. But after working closely with its lettershops, the company made sure the wafer seals were perforated, allowing for easy access. Cunard also worked with its internal production team to ensure that the mailing remained closed and didn't tear.
To ensure prospects don't overlook its "Welcome Aboard Specials," Cunard places them on the front and back covers of its direct mailings. "We're not always sure if the consumer's only going to look at one side of the piece before opening it," says Jamie Clark, marketing specialist at Cunard. "With direct mail, you never know if they just grab it and tear it open from one side and look at it. So we want to make sure that the offers are noticeable on both sides."