Direct Mail Spotlight: Atlantic Theater Co.
Founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy, the theater has a mission to focus on the stories and the playwrights' intent. It is no surprise then, that the spectacle and bright, poppy colors of the typical theater mailers are absent from its direct mail.
The black, white and red effort, sent in July to more than 80,000 prospects, features photos of the directors, play summaries as well as photos of the theater itself. "I think [the design] is based on our artistic director and the aesthetic of the theater, which is very playwright-oriented," says Jodi Sheeler, marketing director for the New York-based organization. Included in the brochure are about a dozen pages of copy and photographs illustrating each play, and on the last spread, a statement of member benefits and a reply form (Archive code #580-704090-0807).
Sheeler is very happy with the design work, executed by Danielle Speicher, founder of Montclair, N.J.-based Ninth Circle Design. "She's worked with us in the past ... she's really familiar with our aesthetic, and she's skilled at getting that across throughout the brochure," Sheeler effuses. "For us, what we love is the simplicity of it. I think it's just attractive and easy to understand," she adds.
According to the U.S. Postal Service's shape-based pricing, the 5" square piece is nonmachinable and therefore mails at a higher postage rate. "It's a booklet and a little unusual in that it's square. It costs a little bit more to do it that size, but we've just found that people aesthetically respond to it better," Sheeler describes. She adds that the theater has been using the square format for years, having once tested a rectangular format for acquisitions but with little success. The company does send out standard letter formats for its renewal efforts.
Atlantic targets a very select pool of prospects for its acquisition efforts including regular theatergoers from its own list and other off-Broadway theater lists. "It's very rare to get people to join as members who are not regular theatergoers. We've tried to branch out into new audiences, and they'll maybe come to see one show. But it's hard to get someone as a member who's not a regular theatergoer," Sheeler explains.