Southwest's Style Goes a Long Way
It's a bird, it's a plane ... wait, it is a plane ... sort of. It's Southwest Airlines sending a birthday greeting to one of its frequent flyers. And this year the company--known for its affordable airfare and friendly style--opted for a 1950s-ish, Superman cartoon design to attract the attention of its recipients (Archive code #510-605109-0507).
From the way the crowd is positioned on the front of the envelope, it looks as if the characters are staring and pointing directly at the recipient's name. This is just the kind of personal attention Southwest takes pride in giving its customers, says Karen Wright, manager of loyalty marketing for the Dallas-based company. And, it's just this kind of attention that makes this type of mailing a grand success, she adds.
The effort, which was conceived and designed by Irving, Texas-based TargetBase Marketing, mails in a 5-1/2" x 8-1/4" envelope. Inside is a postcard with detachable 3-D glasses sporting one blue lens and one red lens. The message on the glasses reads, "Use the Southwest Airlines colors to get your birthday message." On the birthday greeting side of the postcard is more of the black-and-white cartoon depicting a pilot and stewardess holding a cake. The accompanying text reads, "Happy Birthday. Wishes comin' right atcha! Your friends at Southwest Airlines popping in to wish you the best."
Recipients who put on the glasses to read their birthday card will be able to view the image three-dimensionally.
We at Inside Direct Mail were curious how successful such a mailing could be, especially considering its response can't be measured formally. According to Wright, extensive positive feedback makes the mailings worth every penny.
"We've actually been mailing out cards for about 10 years now," says Wright. "Our primary feedback comes from customer letters. We get a remarkable amount of people thanking us for the card. In fact, people will say, 'My coworkers didn't even remember my birthday, but you did!' They are so grateful. So while the proof of success is anecdotal, it's quite impactful, and we feel it generates good will."
According to Wright, birthday cards are sent to all members of Southwest's Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program. How many individuals belong to Rapid Rewards is something she could not reveal.
She also feels that the greetings ring true with Southwest's overall friendly persona. "The cards are very 'Southwesty.' It's one of those things that started because it fit within our personality and we felt it would be a great thing for our road warriors out there to receive every year. Recognizing those special days
is very important to us and them," she says.
As for future birthday card mailings, Wright says she's confident they wouldn't be coming to an end anytime in the near future. "Oh, we will continue mailing these for many more years, you can be sure of that!" she says.