When reporting on trends within the financial services mail sector, the analysis invariably focuses on the status quo, or slight variations thereof. But not this time. In the last few months, the Who’s Mailing What! Archive has seen a number of atypical financial services offers. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Overall, American Express tends to lead the way when it comes to unusual financial services mailers. For example, in the last few months the Archive has seen the company send a slew of self-mailers, a number of freemiums and some uniquely positioned offers. One such effort that arrived in November was for its account protector program. The 5-1/4˝ x 7-1/4˝ self-mailer keeps the fine print to a minimum with three panels of information about the program, including length of coverage under different circumstances, program summary and a list of four reasons to enroll. It also includes a BRC that the respondent simply has to sign, fold, seal and send in order to enroll (Archive code #545-172047-0611).
In contrast, a more typical account protector mailing arrived from Chase that same month. This 4-1/4˝ x 9-1/2˝ envelope effort outlines the program in a one-page letter with detachable reply slip, BRE, and a page of fine print.
Because American Express is known for its standout mailings, it’s not at all surprising to see other mailers adopting AmEx’s ideas. One such effort arrived in November from RBS National Bank. The 4-1/4˝ x 7-3/4˝ envelope upgrade effort is very similar to the ones AmEx sends to its Platinum card members. Some of the similarities: an invitation theme; heavy, ivory cardstock for all components including the BRE; gold trim on all pieces including the outer envelope and reply device; and multipage letter printed in courier font (Archive code #540-701081-0611).
Discover Financial Services, on the other hand, probably wasn’t borrowing a page from anyone’s playbook when it designed the self-mailer the Archive received in November. The 5-1/4˝ x 10˝ effort doesn’t look unusual from the outside; in fact, it looks a bit like a glossy envelope. It opens, however, to reveal that the glossy outer is actually a pocket folder that is spot-glued on the leading edge and contains an application, BRE, sheet of fine print and an insert that outlines all of the card’s benefits. The top interior panel of the folder features a short letter from the company’s CEO that again outlines the benefits, which include 0 percent APR on purchases through the end of 2007; 3.9 percent APR on balance transfers through December 2010; a 5 percent cashback bonus on products in certain categories; and no annual fee (Archive code #540-174144-0611E).