Fresh Creative Challenges Polybag Control
International Masters Publishers (IMP) broke the polybag mold in September 2005 when it dropped its test Easy to Bake, Easy to Make acquisition effort in a full-color, vertical 6" x 9" envelope (Archive code #103-179966-0509B).
According to Aysenur Topdagi, vice president of marketing, when a product like Easy to Bake, Easy to Make, has been in the marketplace for several years, it's important to maintain a fresh look with promotional efforts. "At IMP we've been mailing mostly polybag efforts," says Topdagi. "We clearly have the need to be able to keep the look of our products fresh in the mailbox as we are competing with a lot of other mailers. ... We wanted to create a piece that looks and stands out in the mailbox, so the prospect will want to get into it and open it."
"We are constantly in search of improving our products' performance by doing creative testing, and this was one of those efforts," says Topdagi of the package that, like the control piece, contains the signature sample recipe cards.
Shifting from a clear polybagreally, a sort of shrink-wrap outerto an envelope format posed a few unique challenges, one of which was modifying the manner in which the product benefit was communicated to prospects. The solution: a four-color outer envelope that features images from the sample recipe cards that, in the control, are visible through the polybag. "When you use four colors with food products, the images pop up nicely and the communication [strengthens]," explains Topdagi.
Those featured images from the recipe cards highlight IMP's cobranding initiatives with companies including Kraft and Duncan Hines, that have resulted in recipes such as Holiday Cheesecake Presents and Brownie Ice Cream Pie.
In addition to the long-featured freemium recipe cards, the Easy to Bake, Easy to Make package's other components include a gift claim certificate; a letter; a buckslip highlighting the quick response premium (knife and cutting board set); a tri-fold brochure detailing the benefits of the recipe collection; a lift note from the editor; a Magic Oven Game piece; and a BRE. "What we have tried to accomplish this time with this package is [that] every component delivers a certain message, reinforcing the product but also [having] a certain purpose," says Topdagi. "We really wanted to find the right balance between the offer and the product benefits and ... deliver it across different components."
Another interesting aspect of this package is the use of involvement devices, one of which is a "FREE BONUS GIFT" sticker visible through a window on the front of the outer envelope. "We've seen that [involvement devices] help us boost our front-end performance," says Topdagi. The package's other involvement device is the Magic Oven Game, a concept that IMP has used in past mailings. "We try to integrate it in a way that the concept of the game piece is tied with the product offering."
Although Topdagi says that the envelope format has suffered in past tests against the polybag, she expects that this package's strong creative will change that. "With the envelope creative, it's clearly a little bit more tricky, so you [need] a ... catchy outer to get the customer in," says Topdagi. "From that angle, I think we have achieved our goal. ... We were able to get the pros-pects in and respond to this package."
While flat front-end results suggest that this test panel has the potential to become a successful, promotional effort comparable to the polybag control, Topdagi stresses that it's necessary to monitor back-end results. "We clearly need to wait for the back end, because we might have acquired a different type of customer with this effort," says Topdagi.