Opposites Attract Positives in Direct Mail
If you were a fan of the TV series "Seinfeld" back in the 90's, you'll remember an episode called "The Opposite," where perennial loser George Costanza turns his life around by doing the opposite of every instinct in his body.
That's why this envelope teaser caught my eye the other day. It's on a membership appeal from the ASPCA, and reads: "Enclosed: No Address Labels. No Calendars. No Magnets."
The letter inside picks up the theme by talking about how the group wants to make a case for support without gimmicks or gifts. In other words, the opposite of what other non-profits are relying on in their direct mail to build membership and acquire donors.
This isn't all that new—Oxfam America has had an appeal in the mail for over 10 years, one of our Who's Mailing What! archive grand controls—that says the same thing.
Here is a recent control from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: "Animals are suffering, and mailing you a nickel won't help."
Doing the opposite—and making that tactic part of your strategy by proclaiming it right there in the letter and the outer—really stands out in the mail.
Here's another opposite design tactic: Most conference & seminar marketers promote a show or workshop using self-mailers with lots of grids, blocks upon blocks of copy, pages of bullet-pointed benefits and that's pretty much it.
But conventions, by definition, are where people get together.
A mailer like this from the Printing Association of Florida, for their Graphics of the Americas show, is the opposite of what every other mailer does because it has lots of photos showing people learning, buying, selling and engaging.
It's enough to make you pause and think about the shows you're going to, if not the people who are promoting them.