Mail Activity Highlights: Merchandise
To quote our Who’s Mailing What! Archive director, Paul Bobnak, “Merchandise mail in March is like forsythia, as it appears before everything else comes up.” For merch mail, that means it shows the beginning of home improvement marketing mail, including everything from roofing, painting, kitchen overhauls, new beds, appliance insurance, pest-proofing and lawn care.
Interlock Industries, with its lifetime roofing system, uses a #10 outer that gets homeowners’ immediate attention: “Never reroof again. NEVER.” Because reroofing is one of the big expenses, it’s the kind of product promise that will get the envelope opened. The four-color brochure shows effective before-after pictures, and the letter does its best to spur immediate action, including mentioning “no credit applications refused” and “you will not have to negotiate” (Archive code #390-692305-0803).
Sometimes, clever marketing is a matter of ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ On its 6˝ x 11-1/2˝ outer, Sears personalizes a small paragraph: “[First name], Sears transformed your neighbor’s kitchen on South St. We’d like to make you a valued customer too, by extending to you this special financing offer.” The offer is summarized below in three colorful squares, which read “FREE Estimate,” “NO Payment NO Interest for 12 Months” and “NO Obligation.” Turns out those squares are stickers that can be attached to the reply form inside (Archive code #390-171613-0803).
Certa-Pro Painters use a plain-jane #10 with its name in the top window. Frankly, it’s the kind of outer that would only draw homeowners who already have “must paint soon!” in their heads, and it poorly serves the two excellent components inside (along with a simple reply card): a comprehensive four-color brochure that both shows and tells how Certa-Pro does its work, and a solid letter, which uses the seasonal approach: “Painting your home in the springtime is optimal. Your home has just made it through the winter months, and it’s in need of a little attention.” Then the next four paragraphs are led by one bold word each: Painting, Passion, Professionalism and Time to get started” (Archive code #390-691386-0803).
No stranger to intriguing, effective direct mail (see the “Top Mailing” on PSE&G in the February issue of Inside Direct Mail), PSE&G (Public Service Electric and Gas Company) taps into today’s environmental consciousness to promote its WorryFree insurance coverage for the kitchen and laundry appliances. A variation on its control, it employs a brochure that includes information about its Hot Hybrid Giveaway contest and its own green credentials, alongside the WorryFree letter and perfed enrollment form. To show sincerity in going green and promote a popular environmental event, PSE&G includes a buckslip detailing its sponsored “Global Green Expo 2008” (Archive code #347-691832-0803).
Tempur-Pedic is another company doing a variation on what it’s done before—no, that does NOT include any controls, for this company doesn’t believe in them! Instead of a series of bland photos of beds, it goes in a different direction, using many folks (couples as wells as families) enjoying the lifestyle part of the bed. Indeed, the back of the 5˝ x 7-1/4˝ self-mailer’s outer features neither people nor beds; rather, it’s a beautiful, full-bleed shot of a tropical river with the words “Find out why sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic is like therapy for your soul” (Archive code #389-417672-0803).
Of course, nothing frightens homeowners more than termites, and Terminix plays up those fears brilliantly in its 5-1/2˝ x 9˝ self-mailer. The outer personalizes the area in which the prospect lives, declaring that “Termite swarm season in [prospect’s city of residence] is now!” The back of the outer shows a close-up shot of Ben Franklin’s face on a $100 bill with the provocative question, “How many of these will termites consume?” Opening the flap reveals the same bill partly eaten up by some disgusting, greedy termites, alongside the copy, “This year, 1 in 30 homes will be infested with termites, causing more than $5 billion in property damage.” The “yuck!” then “yikes!” double-whammy is immediately followed with these comforting words, “But with Terminix Ultimate Protection, you won’t pay a penny for repairs.” The call to action is a simple 800 number and a website (Archive code #390-640691-0803B).
Lastly, heading out into the yard, comes an extra-large 6-1/4˝ x 11-1/2˝ postcard from SWAT Mosquito Systems. With an enlarged photo of a dead mosquito, it proclaims “Meet the next endangered species” in large orange letters and includes a stamp that reads “As recommended by Designing Spaces of TLC.” On the address side, it gives a bullet list of how it works and how it rates highly, alongside the winning words “100% Money Back Guarantee” and “Lifetime Warranty” (Archive code #390-713852-0803).
Read “One to Watch: Spring-Green” to find out how some lawn care companies are using the mail in inventive ways.