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Here is a hair-raising fact:

In ancient Rome, women used to dye their hair blonde with pigeon dung.

Okay, then.

This self-mailer from online hair color company Madison Reed stood out in a recent mail delivery for a number of reasons.

First of all, size. The four-panel, double gate self mailer is 6" x 10.5", significantly bigger than most business correspondence and credit card bills.

Second, it's colorful. The front cover features an almost life-size head of brilliant red hair. The stacked headline reads: VIIBRANT GORGEOUS UNSTOPPABLE SMART and ends with Madison Reed's logo.

Another hair-raising fact: only 1% of the world's population has red hair.

Third, the piece is printed on a nice heavy stock with a handsome matte finish.

The address panel works hard too. A teaser lets us know that there's an "Offer for you inside." A color bar along the bottom of the panel lines up familiar media logos, implying that Madison Reed has been featured (ie. endorsed) by the likes of Vogue, InStyle, Elle, Allure, The Today Show, and O, the Oprah Magazine. And at the top of the panel there's a benefit/call-yo-action message "Find your perfect shade at Madison-Reed.com."

The piece is sealed with loose fugitive glue (not the kind that rips paper or pulls off ink — we hate that). Six models of different ages and ethnicities show off their tresses under the headline: BEST. HAIR COLOR. EVER. Note the use of single-word sentences, a nod perhaps to the company's youthful culture or online base.

The final reveal, which by now is an impressive 10.5" x 24", almost a poster, includes close-ups of two of the  models and announces that Madison Reed is "AT-HOME HAIR COLOR, REINVENTED." Copy flows from a message about the brand's popularity ("Everyone's talking about Madison Reed") to a list of benefits:

• Save time & money

• Ingredients you can feel good about

• Multi-tonal, healthy-looking, artisan-crafted

• Expertise included

Copy is quick, friendly, easy-to-scan or to-read. Icons subtly guide us through the list of benefits.

We then — unfortunately — get a review/testimonial from Goop, actress Gwyneth Paltrow's bizarro beauty and lifestyle site. However, directly under it is a tipped-on response card that makes an attractive offer: "FREE FULL-SIZE SHAMPOO + FREE SHIPPING." This, we learn, is worth $31 (which connotes a solid value, but makes us worry that the products are expensive). Beneath the offer card is some reassurance though; Madison Reed is "100% Satisfaction Guranteed."

Madison Reed has carved out an innovative and interesting position for itself. It strives to deliver salon-quality hair color, with the convenience of drugstore DIY at-home hair color. And, the price point is, perhaps appopriately, in between the two. (In truth, it's closer to retail pricing than beauty parlor pricing.) Selling hair color over the Internet is a new idea and Madison Reed has done a good job making the buying experience feel personalized and interactive.

The self-mailer, attractive, engaging and smart, is a great way to invite consumers to try Madison Reed's online experience. We give it a thumbs-up and predict good things for mailer Madison Reed.

After all (hair-raising fact number three) while just 7% of women clored their hair in 1950, 75% of women do so today.

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