Magalogs - Send the Sizzle or the Steak (1,821 words)
While it looks like a specimen issue, it isn't. Rather, it contains a promotional letter from Louis Rukeyser, two promotional letters from publisher Brian Smith, a Q&A interview with Louis Rukeyser and a short article by Rukeyser—"The Smartest Way to Get Rich in Wall Street."
The type throughout is a Times Roman serif face (with a few Helvetica headlines and subheads), so it is difficult to differentiate between the letters and the articles. This follows William Fridrich's rule that the letter should be seamlessly integrated into the piece rather than standing out on its own.
What's more, unlike many consumer newsletters, this one has a very soft offer—three months free with a bill-me option: If I decide that Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street is not for me—and I am the sole judge of that—I will write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. That will end the matter—with no cost or obligation to me.
A feature I have never seen before: the various mailings are identical in every way, with the exception that the date in the upper left-hand corner is changed; we received the same mailings several months running, but with different dates: September 1997, October 1997, January 1998. This gives the impression of a current issue, when, in fact, it is the same specimen issue each time.
Why Magalogs Work
My own guess is that magalogs—with all their glitz and glamour—are often plucked from the day's mail, laid aside and stacked for later reading, along with Time, Newsweek, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, Forbes and Fortune and various favorite catalogs. The result: When it comes time to read a magalog, the mindset is in a different place than it would be when looking for the highly intimate correspondence of a letter. Vicki Moffitt agreed with this theory, pointing out that the ordering cycle for magalogs is longer than for traditional envelope mailings.