U.S. English Dares to be Different
In a world where everyone's mailbox is stuffed with #10 envelopes, faux express mail and magalogs, it is hard to assemble a package that truly stands out among the creative masses. It seems as though people have seen it all, and it is difficult to get your envelope opened by today's weary consumer.
In an effort to differentiate itself, U.S. English, an organization working to unify the U.S. through a common language and to reform bilingual education, mailed a package that is radically different from anything it has done in the past. The mailing's carrier is a 91/2" x 121/2" poly bag with a sticker on the outside that reads, "News From the Front!" (601USENGL0900). The loose elements contained inside consist of a four-page letter, a declaration of support/reply form and a reply envelope, all paper clipped together with a piece of yellow paper folded around them. Paper-clipped to the outside of the yellow paper, three ten-cent stamps and three one-cent stamps are enclosed for the return postage. This odd combination of stamps is one of the elements that gets prospects to take notice.
Will Black, director of development at U.S. English, explains that he wanted to do something different because people were flooded with #10 envelopes, due to last month's presidential election. This package not only beat the U.S. English control, but it pulled a 24-percent response, and replies are still coming in!
He feels the poly bag is the element that really gives this package its push. The bag is unique, and "the sticker gave the piece a sense of urgency," says Black. "It may become a staple of the U.S. English mail program."
At first he mailed the package to a high dollar selectdonors who have contributed $50 or more. This meant mailing to only 12,000 people from a list of 200,000, but he wanted to make sure that including real stamps would be cost-effective. The handiwork of the paper clipping was done by a lettershop in Virginia that specializes in hand-assembled packages. Lower donors received the same letter and reply form, but in a #10 envelope.
Because the package has been such a huge success, Black will start testing smaller segments of lower donors to see how far down he can go while still maintaining cost efficiencies.