Profile - The Utne Reader (1,651 words)
After doing some innovative testing with other packages, the Utne Reader came back to the original Jayme control and simply tweaked the envelope.
The new envelope depicted the Utne Reader as a Swiss army knife. The copy on the back of the envelope explained the knife graphic on the front: "The refinement, compression and focus of each issue makes it the Swiss army knife of periodicals." (For more information on this mailing, see Who's Mailing What! , February 1993.)
Another envelope tested was the Free Lunch, Free Love, Free Issue design. On this envelope, a crabby, middle-aged man turns down a free lunch ("No Such Thing") and free love ("No Way") but is interested in a free issue of the Utne Reader.
The latest control envelope is a plain, white #10 that is supposed to look like a personal letter from Eric Utne, with the current John Klingel design of green YES and red NO stickers.
Why a NO sticker? Why encourage hostility and take a financial bath in the process (i.e., Utne includes a Business Reply Envelope which means he's paying postage to receive NOs.)?
Quite simply, it's testable; you might find that the NO option—even with the BRE—more than pays for itself in terms of more YES responses or higher payments from the same number of YES responses. However, test this with caution: Gallaher says that enough NO replies came back to cause some concern.
A promising retest in the works: the Free Love, Free Lunch, Free Issue outer envelope, with three corresponding stickers, rather than the drawing.
The Main Letter
When you compare the main letter—the current control and the original Jayme launch—there are merely a few changes, for example different headlines, while the lead paragraphs are identical.
The "Alternative Press" of the original is changed to "Independent Media" and a box of text is added to the beginning, repeating the question of the outer envelope: "Will you please do us a favor?" The salutation warns that the magazine is a bit unusual----as a favor to yourself and the Utne Reader, won't you send for a free copy?