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Mailbox Monday

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Here at B Direct, we're flattered. The New York Times wants us. They want us real bad.

In the past two months, we've received 13 email messages from them with subject lines ranging from "Ends soon. Expert reporting for $1 a week" and "Ends soon: Subscribe now for $1 a week," to "Reward your curiosity: The Times for $2 a week." (They must have tested subject lines and found that including the weekly rate increased response. At least we hope they did.)

This week, in addition to the now ubiquitous emails, we received a direct mail package.

The 5 1/4" x 7 1/8" envelope is subtle and classy. The size and shape of a greeting card or invitation, it stands out against more businesslike business correspondence. The familiar NYT logo and their NYC address offsets a subtle indicia.

Inside, a two-panel brochure shows the newspaper in a fairly classy, if not downright eclectic, setting. Shot from overhead, there are plants, a tray with fresh exotic fruit and some small bowls of spices. The overall feeling is one of calm sophistication. The headline is promotional but set in sober type. After the NYT logo, we're encouraged to "Try the Sunday Times for 4 weeks free." There's a toll-free number and campaign URL.

Inside, the presumed brochure turns out to be a lift note, signed by an "Executive Director." Her note includes bolded subheads: "Enjoy all the Sunday Times has to offer;" "Your Sunday subscription includes unlimited access to nytimes.com and our apps;" and "Start today and get 4 weeks of Sunday delivery free." The copy explains the offer and what we'll be charged after the free trial, along with an 800-number we can use to cancel at any time. As we would recommend, the offer and calls to action are repeated in a P.S. under the printed signature.

A personalized reply card promotes the offer once again (on both sides, actually, with exactly the same headline). And, a postage paid BRE is enclosed as well.

(We were a bit surprised that the copy didn't italicize the Times title. But, that may be splitting English major hairs.)

The piece is a neat little package, but surprisingly underwhelming. The sender presumes that we already know what to expect in the Sunday Times. There's only the faintest of descriptions in the lift note, and the photo doesn't really sell the paper's content either.

Although there are elements we like, we have to give the campaign a thumbs down. It isn't fake news. But, there needs to be a little more there there.

Mailbox Monday
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