Is How-To Content in Your Junk Mail Drawer?
I took a little time the other day – like an hour – and went through a drawer at work where I keep a motley collection of direct mail pieces I’ve collected over the years. Some of them have made their way into videos. Some of them I used in blog posts. And quite a few I forgot I even had.
Here’s an example: I have a folder filled with “how-to” mail. These are booklets and postcards that include instructions for various things that various marketers have said we should know how to do. Kind of like The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook.
Speaking of which, check out the cover of a booklet from Zapwerk, a now-defunct web publishing software provider. Besides that bit of helpful alligator advice, there are tips on “how to avoid being struck by lightning,” “how to survive an avalanche,” as well as lots of illustrations.
I found another copy of Blue Nile’s classic “How To Buy A Diamond” brochure that I wrote about a few months ago. So among other things, I was reminded of how to read palms, say “I love you” in various languages, and oh yeah, pick out jewelry the right way.
For a while — about 10 years ago — Volkswagen sent out a series of mail pieces that laid out steps for some basic life lessons, like how to fold fitted sheets. And, ummm … I still have a little trouble with that one.
VW also mailed a 42-page booklet called “Five Things to Build in This Lifetime.” This is pretty cool: detailed plans on how to put together a doghouse, a tire swing, a birdhouse, an Adirondack Chair and a picnic table (which I’ve already done, by the way).