Sifting through the April merchandise mail was no hardship, as plenty of mailers were trying out new formats, new approaches and even new affinity relationships. Others simply strove to upgrade the effort with fancier font or offers.
The most innovative, and potentially successful, effort came from Firestone. A 5-3/8˝ x 8˝ self-mailer, the cover is a close-up photo of a steering wheel stitched together by red leather string that spells, “xoxoxo.” Intrigued, you open to an inviting empty road amid green farm country and a bright blue sky with a white cloud shaped like a heart. On the opposite page is a love poem personalized to your first name … from your car! It talks about “the bumpy road” the two of you have been on and the need “to save” the “relationship” by going to Firestone Complete Auto Care (Archive code #361-672720-0704).
On the inside foldout page, a personalized letter again greets the prospect and encourages a push to the Web for exclusive offers and maintenance reminders with a “personal access code.” Finally, the enclosed $15 Firestone gift card and Firestone credit card promotion complete this solid mailing that beats the pants off the usual blah auto repair effort.
In the car-related sector, GM’s 6˝ x 8˝ self-mailer also stood out with several incentives to purchase its products. With attractive flip-down panels, seven of its most popular names, like Cadillac, Saab and Chevrolet, are displayed with two to three car/truck/SUV models on each panel. At the top, the personalized sales letter provides two different “private offers” towards the purchase or lease of any “FlexFuel” (85 percent of which uses renewable fuel) vehicle, as well as a Web site that discusses this program in more detail. The most novel aspect of the GM mailing is its new affinity relationship with Kentucky Farm Bureau, whose members are also given a “private offer” (Archive code #361-171623-0704).