Shock, Awe, and Entertain: The 3 Ingredients of Direct Mail

In our last blog, we briefly touched on the importance of “embracing the outrageous” (shock them!) when it comes to your direct mail marketing campaign. The reason being, if your mailer looks exactly the same as everyone else’s, it’s going to be treated exactly the same; thrown away.

If you really want your clients to read and appreciate your mailer, you’re going to have to get in touch with your creative side.

Of course, that’s oftentimes easier said than done. But when it comes to your direct mailer, a simple sheet of paper inside an envelope simply isn’t going to cut it anymore. Why? Because that envelope lacks the ability to elicit an emotional response in your reader (other than, “Ugh, more junk mail?”).

If you really want to impress your clients and prospective clients, your mailer has to do one of three things; shock them, awe them, or entertain them.

Shock Them

burglar direct mailA home security company shocked their clients by sending a direct mailer that unfolded to reveal a lifesize man, dressed in black, and holding a crowbar. The advertisement read “It’s that easy to get into your home.” In this case, the mailer was not only unique enough to actually get opened, but it evoked an emotional response in it’s recipients by bringing to light the very real and imminent threat of a home invasion. We’re willing to bet that those clients were pretty shocked to find that in their mailbox. ADT tried a similar tactic when they sent out flat, white boxes that were engineered to pop up into a cube once slipped under the door. The boxes read, “Breaking into your apartment is easier than you think.” Recipients were certainly shocked to find full size boxes sitting in their entryways.

Awe Them

shock and aweIf your clients aren’t opening your mailers and thinking to themselves, “This is amazing!” You need to amp up the awe factor. IBM awed their clients when they sent out a seemingly blank postcard accompanied by a small bag of sand. Recipients were instructed to pour the sand over the postcard, revealing a hidden message; “IBM opens in Qatar.” The campaign not only inspired their clients to take another look (“why is IBM sending me sand?) but their hidden message was an awe inspiring surprise. We’re guessing that this was a campaign their clients weren’t soon to forget.

Entertain Them

entertainToday’s technology makes this feat easier than ever. Take, for example, a postcard sent by Skoda Auto, a Czech car manufacturer. The postcard was intended to advertise the new park assist feature of the Skoda Yeti. The card featured a small, tear-away paper car on one side, and a photo of a street on the other. When the car was placed on the street, magnets within the postcard magically maneuvered the car into a tight parking spot. Recipients had fun “parking” the car over and over again!

What can you do to shock, awe, and entertain your customers? 

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