Top Mailing: Zagat Now Wines as Well as Dines
You probably know Zagat as the leading source for restaurant critiques, but what you may not know is that Zagat actually has its roots in wine. Some 30 years ago, the Zagat Survey was born out of a wine-tasting group, and to mark its 30-year anniversary, Zagat recently launched a wine group — Zagat Wine.
Don’t believe me? Then check out the mailer sent in late 2009. Sent in a #11 envelope (see thumbnail below), the Zagat Wine mailer has a high-end look and feel, with a glossy, red background highlighted by a portion of a wine bottle and the teaser, “We help you choose the perfect wines. You SAVE $110.” On the reverse side, the outer displays a dozen bottles of wine along with an image of a quartet of wine glasses, along with another teaser that reiterates the price saving and introduces the premium: “SAVE $110 on a dozen highly rated wines — Plus four FREE wine glasses" (Archive code #363-655262-0911).
Once inside, the prospect is greeted with a personalized letter that details the club and Zagat’s roots in wine. This two-page letter is remarkably effective, hitting on all the direct mail best practices: short sentences and paragraphs, bolded and underlined copy, subheads, a postscript, relevant, clear images and a very easily scanned format — everything you would hope for. The letter opens with the introductory offer: a dozen specially selected wines for $69.99, which the letter notes is a savings of $110. The letter follows with Zagat’s history with wine: “The Zagat story started with wine … here’s to a better drinking future!”
It goes on to explain that Zagat has teamed with renowned wine expert Tony Laithwaite to select the best wines and discusses how the program works. It also invites the prospect into a clear two-way relationship, stating, “Your feedback on the wines will help Tony and his team compile future selects.” This is an excellent tactic to make prospects feel they’re valued by Zagat. The letter also highlights that “if you don’t like a wine, you don’t pay,” and it’s signed by Nina and Tim Zagat, finally wrapping up with a postscript that reiterates the $110 savings and free wine glasses.
And the letter is just the beginning. The contents also include a high-end brochure (see image below) describing the introductory offer in further detail, along with an array of classy images and descriptions of the 12 bottles of wine included in the introductory case — not to mention a list of benefits on the back. Another insert details some of the bottles even more, discussing the countries of origin and the types of food each wine goes well with to satiate the palate. One more glossy add-on describing the four free wine glasses is included as well, along with a BRE, and throughout, Zagat provides a phone number and URL to respond or explore further.
In a similar fashion to the Wall Street Journal’s wine club mailer sent in the latter half of 2009 (Archive code #363-717084-0909), the Zagat Wine campaign does an extremely effective job in engaging its prospects and communicating its offer in a relevant manner. But to separate itself from the WSJ package, Zagat goes with a thicker paper stock and throughout opts to go with a higher-end appeal. From the envelope to the brochure to the inserts, Zagat does a remarkable job keeping consistent with its tone and message … and keeping everything upscale — all while remaining less cluttered.
And let’s be honest, it’s a bit more in sync with its flagship service for Zagat to jump into the wine space than it is for the Wall Street Journal. Now Zagat really is wining and dining its subscribers.