Rebecca DePriest

By Hallie Mummert With no apparent trends on the horizon, mailers stick to the tried-and-true outer styles he word on the street is that marketers are starting to test and mail more campaigns. But, somehow, this upswing in mailing activity has not given many marketers the undeniable urge to venture into new waters with respect to envelope creative. "Overall, mailers are being conservative and not 'pushing the envelope,' so to speak," says Rebecca DePriest, a freelance designer in Nashville, Tenn. Sticking close to proven creative strategies is a sign that while direct mail budgets are getting larger, marketers still have to plan for reliable

By Noelle Skodzinski "Wake up people!" shouts Lily Tomlin—or rather her character "Ernestine"—from the outer envelope of a recent mailing for Web communications service provider WebEx. Ernestine, who rose to stardom in the early '70s on the TV show "Laugh-In," is WebEx's corporate spokesperson. The sarcastic quipster joins the likes of Bart Simpson, William Shatner, Austin Powers and Alf on the seemingly endless list of marketing-bound pop icons. But in direct mail, pop icons seem the exception, not the rule. Are such famed faces ineffective in the postal medium? Is pop culture an abstract vagary best left to ad-agency hipsters targeting

A Round-up of What's Working in the Mail Right Now By Hallie Mummert This year has been no bed of roses for many direct marketers. A stagnant economy paired with increases in postage and other fixed operations costs have dealt marketers a double whammy in budgeting for direct mail programs. A mature market offers another challenge to direct marketers looking for a creative approach that's going to get the job done in the mail. The result is a good deal of uncertainty about what might work best. In years past, you could identify clear trends in format and offer strategy—such as when the double

Even when a direct mail effort is garnering good response, there comes a time when it must be tweaked to maintain that response rate. Beating the control, on the other hand, requires crafting a whole new look, and sometimes a new message. Health magazine saw a more modern and eye-catching polybag mailing (202HEALTH1200) upset its long term-control, a 9" x 12" white envelope effort produced by the renowned creative team of Bill Jayme and Heikke Ratalahti (the letter re-written by Judy Weiss). Not only did the wrapping change on this winning package, but a good deal of the content. Ultimately, Health cut costs and

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