Riding on a Zipper
Just when it seems there's a trend in direct mail to go bigger and better, whether it be with a colorful, glossy outer, a flashy premium, or any other combination of bells and whistles, along comes a mailing that is starkly differentbare-bones and unpretentious, employing just a bell here and a whistle there.
This mailing, sent by Verizon since August to potential customers for its Online DSL service, slipped into the Who's Mailing What! Archive in September (Archive code #837-636770-0409A-X).
The white, official-looking 6" x 9" outer gives the mailing the appearance of a Verizon bill, save for the teaser and tab below the address window. Centered within two dotted red lines that run along a perforated zipper that stretches horizontally across the bottom of the outer's face, the teaser lures prospects with the question, "Want to experience the Internet as never before?" A red arrow points to a tab attached to the zipper that, when pulled, reveals the answer in the form of a red headline from the enclosed letter:
Get high-speed Verizon Online DSL for not much more than dial-up: as low as $29.95 a month.
According to John Bonomo, a spokesman for Verizon, while other Verizon business units have used variations on this outer creative, which he calls "Zipper DM," for local phone-service offers and consumer winback efforts, this is the first time it has been dropped by Verizon Online. Results are still being tracked, but Bonomo says Zipper DM is performing close to Verizon's objective, and response is comparable to similar letter packages the company has mailed in the past.
Aside from the zipper, however, the mailingproduced by direct marketing agency, Draft Worldwideis modest, containing only an 81/2" x 11", one-sided letter on glossy, white paper. The letter is short and to the point, citing the myriad benefits of high-speed Verizon Online DSLlow cost; faster upload speeds; the inclusion of enhanced e-mail and advanced virus and firewall protection; easy installation with a self-install kit; no annual commitment; around-the-clock tech support; and automated tools to make switching to the new service easierin three concise paragraphs.
This simple, uncluttered approach was intended to be something of a metaphor for the ease of Verizon Online DSL.
"We chose to keep the package simple and straightforward to avoid information overload [for] the customer," adds Bonomo. "One of our main goals in all of our customer interactions is making things easy for our customers. They shouldn't have to consider it work to purchase and use our services ... We want our customers to realize that the service is easy to order, acquire and use."
So devoid of bravura is this mailing, that the option of signing up online to receive the first month free is only nonchalantly mentioned in the final paragraph of the letter, with "first month free" set apart merely by boldface type.
Despite the use of the zipper on the outer, Bonomo maintains the piece was a rather simple letter package to produce; it enabled Verizon to maintain its cost-per-piece budget.