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We often have to convince clients that less is more. You simply can't fit an entire company brochure on a social media tile or in an email or even in a letter. But, sometimes more is more. Or, bigger is better. And, the way to find out which works better — short or long — is to test.

We're direct marketers; we love to test.

So, apparently, do the folks at Staples. On a single day, two people here received two different postcards. Same promotion, but two sizes: one big (4.5 x 11), one small (4 x 6).

The creative is almost identical — same headlines, same photo. The offers are slightly different (interestingly enough, the smaller card has the bigger offer). The disclaimer copy (and there's plenty of it) is virtually the same. And, both have an offer addendum: an increase in the company's rewards program.

The art side of each postcard depicts a minimalist office setting and the headline:

"Savings just for you
Let us help you win tax season (and win you back)."

There's a coupon with printed perf marks that promotes "$30 off your online order of $60 or more." The smaller card continues with "plus an extra $5 off office supplies." Both cards are on very nice stock with a semi-gloss varnish. The backs or address sides of the cards include the message that "Rewards members now earn 2% back in rewards on all online purchases." There are special offer codes and, as we mentioned already, a ton of legalese.

Some thoughts on the campaign:

• Did they mean to send the same promotion, different formats to the same company? The B who received the smaller card did, to be honest, feel a little bit left out.

• The fronts of the cards were attractive and intriguing, but the address sides were a letdown. In fact, the big red field distracted us from the main offer.

• Yes, tax-time is looming, but who's thinking about April 15th right now? (And who uses the word "win" to describe that dreaded season anyway?) A better message would have been one about working or managing from home as more and more of us are.

As a piece of purely transactional direct mail, each card is fine. (Despite the larger size standing out, the smaller card seemed to use its real estate better.) But, Staples missed a chance to make the campaign transactional and relationship-focused. "Winning you back" is an after thought. They also had a legit — and very topical — reason to reference working from home. In fact, they could have positioned themselves as a trusted partner for remote workers.

For those missed opportunities, the Bs give both cards a thumbs down

 

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