Art That Moves
Larry Montali, creative director, co-owner and co-founder of New River Communications, says the mailing is in keeping with his firm's goal of putting the human face on and personalizing the organization's cause to get people's attention. "It has a heroic element to it," Montali says. "He's a guy who's not just taking, but he's giving, as well. We're big believers in the idea that the most successful packages are going to be donor-centric. ... They're not just big advertisements for the organization."
According to Peterson, this mailing had been the control acquisition package since August 2006, which is when it was tested-and won handily-against a labels package with more generic artwork that gave a more generic overview of NPF. The old control was pulling about a 1.4 percent response rate with a $16 average gift. The Bernal package bumped that up about 10 percent, to almost a 1.6 percent response rate. Peterson says while the average gift took a little bit of a slide down to about $15.50, the Bernal package cost $2.50 less to acquire a donor.
Montali also credits the success of the Bernal mailing to NPF's openness to letting his firm try new ideas. "Some organizations won't even consider letting you do anything with their logo. But NPF allowed us to take their logo and turn it into a pretty arty thing that catches the eye," Montali says. "They let us do this, and José's art and story lent itself to that idea. We took the elements and put them together to really make the story and the cause come alive."
Its Day in the Sun
As a result of fall testing, the Bernal labels package is no longer the control. Larry Montali, creative director of New River Communications, says the Bernal piece likely just was seen too many times by National Parkinson Foundation's list and exhausted its run-the organization was even using Bernal's art on back-end mug premiums in the mailing's heyday. The new mailing is a similar format, with a personal story, but the labels and the outer envelope employ generic art. "One of the things that we learned just from [the Bernal] package is that we needed to really focus on more personal stories," says Shaun Peterson, NPF's account executive at New River Communications. "So the package that [eventually] beat out this one is actually similar in nature as far as focusing on someone who actually has Parkinson's and is kind of struggling beyond that and really doing good work through the National Parkinson Foundation."