There’s a new Milton Glaser-style T-shirt popping up on the city sidewalks that quips, “I love nerds.” If nerds are cool again—a cool thing being defined by whether or not it warrants a hip T-shirt—then that explains a lot about the fun design of the recent Scientific American Mind acquisition mailer (Archive Code #202-701549-0708B).
Aware that the publication’s content needs to stand out just as much as the offer, the publisher opted for a more colorful approach to science with a capital “S.” The mailer’s aggressive creative demystifies the field with “Pop-Up Video” meets text-book design, bringing the editorial to life on the page.
Scientific American Mind launched in January 2004 as a quarterly magazine for readers interested in human behavior and the science behind the brain. Scientific American Mind experienced unusual stability for a new publication, in large part because it piggybacked on its parent publication, the 150-year-old stalwart, Scientific American. Its first acquisition mailing, a 4-1⁄2˝ x 6˝ wafer-sealed triple postcard, offered a trial subscription and a free “special report” issue. The effort became a biannual control mailed from June 2005 to June 2007 and generated a comfortable subscriber base.
When Simon Aronin, director of circulation, joined Scientific American Mind about two years ago with more than 20 years of experience from Consumer Reports and U.S. News & World Report, he immediately recognized an opportunity to increase the magazine’s circulation of 12,000 with a more traditional launch package. “I felt that we needed to expand our list universe, and we needed a more responsive package. The next step was to go to a full-blown package,” reveals Aronin.
An aggressive new design debuted in January 2007, when Scientific American Mind rolled out 25,000 test packages with the same offer as the triple postcard control. It did gangbusters, registering an impressive 38 percent lift in response from the previous control.