Production and Paper Special Report: Success From Any Angle
About five years ago, Eric Bright first saw the Flapper™, a dimensional mail piece that unfolds and re-folds to present four different messaging panels. While Bright, senior director of consumer marketing at Franklin Covey, a provider of effectiveness training, productivity tools and assessment services based in Salt Lake City, thinks the mailer featured the Nickelodeon cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants, he’s positive he and his colleagues couldn’t stop playing with the effort’s reconfigurable panels.
So the team decided in the summer of 2001 to test a Flapper, a format that is patented by Intervisual Communications, a dimensional print and promotions company acquired this past March by Structural Graphics, a dimensional marketing solutions firm. Response to Franklin Covey’s first Flapper effort was strong enough that the company dropped a second campaign that same year, around Thanksgiving. When it became clear that results to the holiday mailing were better, the marketer made the Thanksgiving campaign an annual gig.
The 2005 holiday Flapper, Bright says, mailed to Franklin Covey’s housefile and top responders the week before Thanksgiving, and also was tested with some of the lower-responding segments. In addition, it was handed out in Franklin Covey’s stores, which number more than 90 worldwide. On a print run of roughly half a million, about 250,000 pieces were mailed and the other 250,000 were handed out in the stores. The outer panel of the self-mailer teased recipients inside to learn what holiday studies had proven, which turns out to be a tongue-in-cheek joke about saving time by not getting caught up in the fun mechanics of the Flapper. A turn of the panels presents the offer in full fanfare: Recipients get $15 off purchases of $75 or more, regardless of the channel used to redeem the offer.
Bright reports that response to the 2005 effort, as it has been from the beginning, was “lights out.”
In fact, nothing else the company has tested against this format during this holiday period has come close to its performance. And what has Franklin Covey tested? Postcards, catalogs and even e-mail efforts, although Bright notes it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison on the e-mail front. Still, he points out, the Flapper does pull better ROI than e-mail campaigns sent around the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to Jim Richwine, executive vice president of Structural Graphics, the Flapper is available in nearly any shape, including tall, wide, square, and with rounded or squared corners. On the dimensions front, one Flapper was developed as small as 1-1/2˝ x 1-1/2˝ . And whereas most dimensional mail tends to be best suited for small production runs, this format can be produced in almost any quantity—say, between 1,000 and 200 million pieces, says Richwine.
For the marketer’s part, it provides the four different panel images to Intervisual Communications, which then fits the copy and graphics onto the four layouts; the critical check is making sure text does not cross any folds, Richwine explains, thus compromising the presentation of one or more panels. Marketers have the option of selecting a Dutch door opening, where flaps flip open at the top and bottom, or a French door opening, where the flaps open on the right and left.
Franklin Covey’s success with the Flapper has made Bright look into using other dimensional mail pieces for its marketing communications. However, the expense of such efforts is an issue, he states. Another consideration he factors into the equation is one of time, since his staff develops its creative in-house. “If we expand our operations down the road,” he predicts, “we would consider doing more dimensional mail campaigns.” For right now, however, the Flapper continues to get the job done.