Southwest Uses Dimension to Deliver "Ding"
Like David challenging Goliath, so seems Southwest Airlines' recent foray into the Philadelphia air-travel market, long dominated by US Airways. In its effort to rival US Air, Southwest has employed the modern day business equivalent of sling and stonean all-out direct marketing campaign called "Ding," which emphasizes the freedom Southwest affords travelers.
One element of the campaigna 6" x 11" self-mailer aimed at current and prospective members of Southwest's Rapid Rewards programshowed up in the Who's Mailing What! Archive last month featuring some of the more innovative creative seen lately (510SOUAIR0504).
The front cover of the mailing features a colorful illustration of a Southwest airplane flying across the Philadelphia skyline and the headline "Ding. You are now free to ..." Potential endings to this sentence can be viewed through a die-cut window by rotating a grommetless wheel slide. They are: "stop searching and start flying"; "try a new kind of frequent flyer program"; "fly when you want, where you want"; "fly free faster"; "enjoy low fares"; and "leave on a whim."
According to Karen Wright, manager of loyalty marketing for Southwest, the idea was to use the wheel creative as a teaser to communicate key benefits of Southwest and the Rapid Rewards program on the outer. The inside spread then opens up to the payoffillustrating the three-step process to earn enough Rapid Rewards credits for a free roundtrip flight, and using a map of the United States to display the destinations serviced by Southwest on nonstop flights out of Philadelphia.
"The front cover did an excellent job of supporting our brand, so the inside could specifically address our frequent flyer program, e-mail lists and breadth of service," says Wright. "That's the benefit of the wheel. We could include lots of information in an interactive, clever format. We also wanted something that would clearly stand out in peoples' mailboxes, so it wouldn't be easily overlooked."
This desire to be different is the force behind most companies' decisions to turn to dimensional creative, says Michael Dambra, vice president of marketing for customized paper promotions developer Structural Graphics, the company that designed the wheel mechanism for the Southwest mailing.
Though it is more expensive to produce this type of direct mail creative, Dambra says dimensional pieces tend to garner greater response rates. He also notes the majority of Structural Graphics' clients use dimensional creative on product launches and initiatives.
The Southwest creative, designed specifically for the Philadelphia launch, is
performing well, allows Wright, but true results won't be known for some time since the offer will run through the summer.
Nevertheless, its ability to deliver multiple messages in one piece of creative has made this mailing a keeper.
"We were extremely pleased with the amount of information we were able to communicate in the piece, which increased the cost effectiveness of the piece," adds Wright. "We never rule out dusting it off for future initiatives."