Long Copy in the Era of the Twitterverse
“The right offer should be so attractive,” said the legendary copywriter Claude Hopkins, “that only a lunatic would say no.”
At this, Bencivenga was (and is) a master. By the end of the 8-page letter, you would be salivating to take advantage of the offer.
The Birth of the Magalog
In the first image in the mediaplayer to the right, you will see the myriad elements that go into a mailing envelope with an 8-page letter.
In the late 80s or early 90s, it was decided to bind these elements into an 8-1/2” x 11” self-mailer that looked like a special report. In the first image at right also is the cover of one of these early efforts, the “Private Report” from Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street newsletter with its black cover and promise of a “CONFIDENTIAL PROSPECTUS” exclusively for DENISON HATCH.
This was far sexier in the mailbox than a #10 envelope with a teaser that was obviously a piece of junk mail.
It wasn’t long before mailers in the fields of finance and health began to use flashy design with blazing bright covers, headlines, subheads, 4-color photographs, charts and graphs sidebars and separate articles. Suddenly the plain-Jane direct mail piece morphed into a 16- or 24-page self-mailer that was a cross between a magazine and a catalog. Hence the term “magalog.”
One of the great magalog designers is Ed Elliott of Phillips Publishing. In a long phone interview with me, he said, “I can do more with a self-mailer (magalog) that resembles an editorial product than I can do with a traditional letter. First of all, I don’t need to get somebody to open it, because it’s not in an envelope. In effect, it’s already open.”
Additional reasons why magalogs are so powerful, according to Ed Elliott: