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Mailbox Monday

Save_the_Children_DM

Not-for-profit is quite possibly the most tested segment where direct mail marketing is concerned. We've talked to clients who could tell us exactly what ROI they could expect if they added address labels or a referral slip. Or included a lift note. Or a petition. Or a "To Do" list pad.

Today, the Queen B received an impressive package from Save the Children.

The full-color 9x12 envelope stood out among bills, account statements and less elaborate direct marketing pieces. Even if it weren't "Mailbox Monday," it demanded attention.

As far as design is concerned, the approach is definitely 'more is more.' Teaser copy alerts the recipient that there is a "Special 16-Month Edition" of the Creating Hope for Children Calendar inside. The postal carrier is encouraged to "Handle with Care." A message of appreciation appears under the address window, while the back of the envelope is dedicated to a "handwritten" thank you.

Inside, components include a personalized letter with a perforated response and donation slip; a postage paid business reply envelope; and the aforementioned "freemium" item: a handsome 16-month calendar.

The calendar, which is printed on very nice paper stock, features two arresting photos per month — a gorgeous hero image of a child in one of the countries that Save the Children serves, and a smaller photo of staff members working with each community along with a caption that educates about the geographic area and the special needs of children there. Each month also showcases a motivational quote from the likes of Buzz Aldrin, Sylvia Pankhurst, George Washington, Elie Wiesel, Martin Luther King Jr., Audrey Hepburn and others.

There is no stealth marketing going on. Clearly, the package is a solicitation. But, it works so hard, in so many ways.

The calendar itself is beautifully produced. It is the size and weight of a calendar you might purchase, adding to its perceived value. It's a fully functional calendar: the square for each day is large enough to jot down an appointment or reminder. Yet, the creative team has made the most of the rest of the real estate. The organization's brand is reinforced, their message is repeated month after month. Each page includes an empowering call to action and the URL.

Essentially, it's a brochure that will stay with recipients for 16 months. More importantly, it's 17 solicitations in one. The images of children, months of them, are particularly hard to say "no" to. And, difficult to discard. Isn't that more (much more) than half the battle?

Even at high quantities, the cost-per-piece must have been significant. And it shows.

However, our focus group (of one), thoroughly disenchanted with address labels by now — especially since the name is invariably misspelled; but that's a blog post for another time — not only spent time with the package, she's keeping the calendar. And she sent a donation.

B Direct's verdict? A thumbs-up. 

The package is a timely success story from our perspective.



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