Mail Activity Highlights: Financial Services
Financial services always take up a sizeable chunk of the mailstream, though this past January and February it’s down to 10.7 percent of total mailings compared to 13.2 percent during the same two-month period in 2007. Perhaps they’re sending out more targeted mailings? Hmm, perhaps is the most optimistic answer I can conjure up, but clearly something is afoot.
American Express, for example, sent out a clever 5˝ x 9˝ self-mailer to District of Columbia and Virginia businesses only. Taking a good gamble that the business prospects (and their clients) may be Washington Redskins fans, the affinity mailing presents an exclusive offer for American Express Business Cardmembers and says they can “receive over $1000 in extra benefits with season tickets.” The outer cover uses an effective tagline “sometimes screaming in meetings is okay” alongside a picture of Redskins fans (Archive code #550-172047-0802C).
Inside the self-mailer, a large buckslip depicts the FedExField, on which the Redskins play, and a local phone number for the Redskins. Meanwhile, the inside panel asks, “Want your business to stand out from the rest?” It then lists the many benefits of a club-level membership, including the seats themselves, the concourse, a VIP party and gift cards.
Exhibiting another effective affinity relationship, Chase Manhattan Bank partnered with Disney Rewards to send out a 6˝ x 8-1/2˝ self-mailer promoting the two-disc platinum edition of “101 Dalmatians.” In an attempt to get the whole family involved, the self-mailer unfolds to reveal a picture of puppies for a child to color while plugging the rewards URL to play the online trivia game. Then it explains how to earn and use “your Disney Dream Reward Dollars” to get the DVDs (Archive code #550-171665-0802).
Mailings within the competitive home mortgage market reveal many more colorful, ambitious efforts than seen previously. Countrywide Home Loans uses strong copy on the outer of its #10, with “How much should you pay to refinance your mortgage? How about ZERO.” Inside, the letter follows up on that big promise with a personalized effort detailing its “No-Cost Refi,” including several bullets in the margin that spell out which fees will NOT be charged (Archive code #535-638013-0802A).
Chase Manhattan Bank tries out two disparate efforts. One is a loud 6˝ x 9˝ envelope pack featuring a huge window that shows “$500 CASH” along with promises to “lower your rate,” “pay no closing costs” and “We’ll pay you $500 Cash!” Inside, the letter is led off by those teasers and then talks about why it’s a good time to switch, shows how much money can be saved on a $100,000 balance, and gives a pURL and a reservation number at the bottom. Page two makes the case for Chase even stronger, with the top half breaking down the regular fees that borrowers pay but that Chase customers will not—the bottom half features very specific Frequently Asked Questions (Archive code #535-171665-0802D).
A second effort may use practically the same second page, but everything else is different, starting with the plain 4˝ x 9-1/4˝ envelope. The letter explains Chase’s affinity relationship with United Mileage Plus, including the ability to get 3,500 miles for each $10,000 that’s borrowed in addition to saving hundreds of dollars a year on the prospect’s home equity account (Archive code #535-171665-0802A).
Lastly, Citibank and Chase Manhattan Bank show a new way to approach “professionals” with a credit card offer. Both resemble consumer mailings much more than business card efforts, with a lot going on in terms of copy and color. Citibank’s #10 outer says, “You’ve earned the title. Time to reap the rewards”; a red line stretches from this effective copy to a credit card showing through a window, with the word “professional” circled in red. The personalized letter includes a pre-approved number to use for the “fastest response” on the URL, and the back of the letter advertises many select benefits from its “ThankYou Rewards Network” (Archive code #544-171691-0802A).
Chase also uses a letter that unfolds to create a lengthy, literally, one-pager, with the mail-in application perfed to the bottom. Overall, however, Chase’s mailing uses a higher-end design strategy, with the 4-1/4˝ x 9-1/4˝ OE featuring a stylized bronze-colored block with reverse white type that reads, “Rewards for Professionals.” Inside, the letter uses both higher-quality paper and print, but doesn’t include nearly as many details as the Citibank effort. The call-to-action is made very clear, with a URL and toll-free number alongside an invitation number and offer code (Archive code #544-171665-0802B).