Now That's a Testimonial
If your company has ever conducted a big money sweepstakes, this is the kind of testimonial that you should be trying to get your hands on. This is is one zinger of an insert included in a gift subscription offer (715READIG0701) for Reader's Digest.
With sweepstakes efforts not pulling as well as they used to before the sweepstakes and contest legislation passed in 1999, anything marketers can do to add excitement to a direct mail package is vital. And what, we ask, could be more tantalizing than a glimpse of an annual installment check to a previous grand prize winner? Even though it's a copy of a canceled check, seeing the amount of $167,000.000 on any check quickens the heart. You can't help but imagine holding the live version in your hand.
The power of this check is so strong, Reader's Digest puts it at the top of the insert page. The copywriter doesn't want to hide it under a fold. Pair the check with the handwritten note from the winner, discussing how the money has changed her life, and this insert is a show-stopper.
According to Sue Werner, title at Reader's Digest, the copywriter for this package is Chuck Folkerson. A former reporter, Folkerson is now a freelance copywriter, who Werner says loves to call people up and ask them questionswhich is usually what it takes to solicit a strong testimonial.
Folkerson also added a few finishing touches to this insert that heighten its efficacy. At the bottom of the page is a short note from Ronald Leslie, the name used for Reader's Digest's sweepstakes director, that is set in a typewriter font; it is also printed in red. Both treatments make this message stand out from the handwritten note. The other element is a stamp effect used on the response deadline; which is positioned on top of the prize winner's note; this emphasizes the deadline more than if it was moved to the dead zone on the left.
Werner says that the idea for the insert came from a mailing for a Reader's Digest video product. She's mailed this version for gift subscriptions twice, beginning with a drop last year. So far, the mailing has performed as well as she anticipated, and she says that her forecast was not pessimistic.
She adds that it's hard to say how long it will hold up, since the mailing environment is not what it used to be. Just when you think you've found something that works, she explains, it stops.