Mail Activity Highlights: Publishing
Tons of vouchers filled the publishing mailstream in August, which makes sense considering high postal costs and a sour economy. However, a handful of inventive efforts were still visible. Some stumbled out of the gate, or at the very end, while others performed well from start to finish.
Truth in advertising? Okay, we know that doesn't always happen. Truth in the teaser? Well, most good direct mail tends to back up the teaser with what's in the package. In the case of Horticulture Magazine's recent acquisition #11 effort it's a clever teaser that describes a new look: "We've turned over a new leaf (And become the gardening magazine you've always wanted!)" (Archive code #202-171908-0808)
Scientific American, in its patented black and bright yellow, also goes with a clever (and huge) teaser on its oversized 5-3/4" x 11-1/4" envelope: "Are you ready for a CHANGING world?" The teaser is supported not only inside the package, but also on the back of the envelope with an image of a recent cover of the magazine running the length of the envelope, complete with cover lines about "A Grand Plan for Solar Energy" and "Technology Leaders; The SCIAM 50." A circular window shows a cover of Scientific American inside the package, and copy lets prospects know they've been "selected to enjoy a FREE preview issue + 3 FREE GIFTS." In an attempt to reassure prospects, at the bottom of the outer, is the copy: "NO COST * NO RISK * NO COMMITMENT * NO OBLIGATION * RSVP TODAY." Inside, the package remains at a high level with a good letter, reply device and brochure. The only false note is the so-called "2008/09 editorial calendar" buckslip that only lists sample stories on the back (Archive code #202-172841-0808A).
The only problem? It's practically the same as a piece of mail sent in 2001! In fact, the same exact outer - windows that show a miniature cover of a magazine and prospect's address, a "3 free gifts!" offer, a sketch of a flower and that clever teaser - is used (Archive code #202-171908-0501). Even the letter inside is barely changed. Oops. Now, bear in the mind that the magazine has apparently undergone a redesign, but its direct mail has yet to do the same.
Medical newsletter direct mail, in contrast, tends to be much plainer than for magazines. Women's Health Advisor from Cornell University turns that reputation on its end with a colorful 6" x 9" effort. The four-color, glossy outer reads "Research Reveals: Amazing Health Breakthroughs for Women" above five pictures that relate to their effective fascinations (like a teaser, but fascinations leave the prospect wanting), such as "Yummy food that LOWERS blood pressure up to 36%!" and "Foods that actually STOP cancer cells from forming." And underneath those fascinations are the words that prospects want to hear: "Answers FREE inside!" The back of the outer uses a few more fascinations, along with a mention of the freemium "Bonus Report." Inside, an eye-catching order card is used, with a "Yours Free!" sticker to be attached to the perf-off reply card, and the back of it lists those answers to the outer's fascinations. The six-page letter follows the tried-and-true technique of most health newsletters, with many bulletized bits of health information, but also includes orange-shaded boxes with health blasts (Archive code #250-655433-0808).
Lastly, Investors Business Daily goes in a very different direction with its acquisition effort. Rather than send out the usual eight-page letter, it encloses a hybrid voucher inside its #10 envelope. In fact, it's a hybrid on steroids, with order reply form, short letter, benefits, "3 Easy Ways to Subscribe" list, an endorsement from the American Association of Individual Investors, and five testimonials. A personal offer code is also given for the URL (Archive code #255-172928-0808).