Dreaming of a Perfect Control
Let yourself drift back to childhood, to those vividly illustrated storybooks your mom read you, with fun, believable characters that made you feel all warm and cozy inside. It's the rekindling of that feeling Mary Engelbreit strives for with her whimsical illustrations. And it's that feeling her magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion (MEHC), then translates into home design.
et yourself drift back to childhood, to those vividly illustrated storybooks your mom read you, with fun, believable characters that made you feel all warm and cozy inside. It's the rekindling of that feeling Mary Engelbreit strives for with her whimsical illustrations. And it's that feeling her magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion (MEHC), then translates into home design.
Engelbreit, a prolific illustrator and entrepreneur, has loaned her signature design to all sorts of licensed products: greeting cards, calendars, home goods, clothes. Her style immediately is recognizable, and this 6" x 9" subscription effort received in the Archive in July uses that cache to full advantage (Archive code #202-418162-0507). Greg King, executive vice president and marketing director at MEHC, says the publication "is a home decorating magazine [that] exists because Mary Engelbreit as an artistan illustratorexists." So, it's important the focus consistently be on her, her art and her take on inspired living. "There's still one place where all your DREAMS can come true," the envelope reads. The implication being at home, with the help of Mary Engelbreit. Says MEHC Publisher John Pagliaro, "We want her art to come through ... to inspire people." For this reason, King ensured "all of the artwork in [the mailing]whether it's the print, the borders, the little iconsare all pieces of Mary's art, all drawn by [her] at some time or another."
Not only are her illustrations used to, well, illustrate the package, but it's the prime enticement to get prospects in the envelope. On the back of the envelope, a picture of a little girl sitting on a hillside, looking out over the sky and valley beyond reads, "Inquire Within." Beside it is the teaser, "Win an authentic Mary Engelbreit print signed by Mary herselfjust for you!" Believe it or not, this print wasn't made specifically for the package, despite the obvious advantages to this seemingly tailor-made-for-envelope-opening phrase. "It kind of just came up," admits King. "It's a piece of art we thought women could relate to ... and read in a lot of different ways."
Inside, it's revealed the print is a fast fifty. "Only the first 50 entries will win," an insert urges. This not only makes it more believable, but it also prompts quick action on the part of the prospect. The idea was to "focus the prospect on one [word]," says King: "win."
He admits "free" also is a very important word in the effort. On the opposite side of the insert, the address book premium is highlighted: "Mary's very own Address Book ... YOURS FREE!" The front of the envelope, via a window with three heart-shaped stickers, touts "FREE ISSUE," "FREE GIFT" and "FREE PRIZE." And a letter, with a coupon-style dotted-outline box at the top asks: "May we send you a FREE ISSUE with absolutely no obligation to subscribe?"
First mailed in 2002, this control package for MEHC has worked incredibly well in terms of generating not only response, but awareness for the publication in general. Since the package "came out of the shoot with a fast fifty," says King, it works best with one. MEHC's other control does not. "It's the difference between having an [effort] crafted with an offer from the get-go versus trying to combine two concepts; it doesn't always work," he says.
According to Pagliaro, MEHC was designed to "inspire people to unleash their artistic spirit." And this mailing obviously was designed to inspire response. It looks to start prospective subscribers on the road to a more aesthetically pleasing environment, with a print for wall-hanging, a book for writing the addresses of all the friends they'll soon be entertaining in their newly inspired space, and a free issue of the magazine that will set them on their way to artistic, fulfilling living.