Pretty Successful in Pink
There is something uplifting, even cheerful, about a delicately colored envelopeparticularly a pink one. It could be subliminal. Aside from the old "pink slip" and maybe Pepto Bismol, this comforting color is generally associated with good thingsflowers, spring, candy. It even has become synonymous with one very good thingthe effort to cure and prevent breast cancer. The latter is exactly the case with this mailing, which appeared in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in April. In fact, on the front of the envelope is the unmistakable ribbon and insignia of The Susan G. Komen (SGK) Breast Cancer Foundation. Instantly, the thought, "Hmm ... good cause," crosses the mind. But even more interesting is that these well-known symbols are accompanied by a return address belonging to The Philadelphia Inquirer (Archive code #255-172585-0504).
Created with a very simple approach in mind, the pink, #10 window-envelope mailing includes just two small inserts and a BRE. One of the inserts is a voucher detailing specially priced subscription information, a toll-free number, a Web site address and the standard request for the reader's credit card number and address. The second insert focuses on The Inquirer's Subscribe to Save Lives program, inviting readers to "subscribe to the idea that you can do something to help."
"When you subscribe to The Inquirer," it continues, "$10 will go to the battle against breast cancer."
According to Julie Delaney, The Philadelphia Inquirer circulation manager, this is the first time the paper has joined with the SGK Foundation. "And it won't be the last," she says. "We received 750 subscriptions just from the names on selected lists where the mailing was sent."
That's 750 as of May 11, 2005, and counting. Though the effort was conceived specifically to raise money leading up to the Mother's Day Race for the Cure event in Philadelphia, the offer was good up until May 31, 2005. To help matters, staff from The Inquirer made an appearance at the local event.
While response has not been as high as some of the company's average mailers, it was very positive considering different lists were used, and this was the first effort of its kind.
The idea of partnering SGK with The Inquirer was initiated by the nonprofit. The two companies worked together to create the logo and message, were impressed with its development, and moved forward with it.
One of the most powerful elements of that message was The Inquirer's commitment to donate $10 to SGK per subscription. "I think the donation was a way to draw people in so they could see how much we were giving back. People understand that that is a substantial amount and I think it pushed them a little more," says Delaney.
This simple yet creative effort probably gave The Inquirer a quick shot-in-the-arm to remedy what is considered a difficult sale in today's Internet- and television-favoring market. An article published in The Washington Post in early May, reported that circulation at 814 of the nation's largest daily newspapers declined 1.9 percent over a recent six-month period.
"The decline continued a 20-year trend in the newspaper industry as people increasingly turn to other media such as the Internet and 24-hour cable news networks for information," it read.
Regardless of this report, The Philadelphia Inquirer manages to do something the Web sites and news networks cannotit reaches out and makes a direct human connection, locally. That's bound to develop longstanding relationships with subscribers.
Sharon Cole is a Philadelphia-based writer contributing to print-industry publications.