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Mailbox Monday


Have you ever seen those little stick figure families on the back window of SUVs? Of course you have; we all have. (Do you have a set yourself? Please get in touch with one of art directors for some style tips at your earliest convenience.) 

Just kidding.

Whether they are simply moms, dads, boys and girls, or something fancier and more conceptual like pirates or zombies or dinosaurs or Disney enthusiasts complete with illustrated mouse ears, those little stick figures are practically ubiquitous. That's why United Healthcare made a good call using them as a creative hook in the simple but hard-working self-mailer we just received.

The 6" x 10" single-fold, four-panel mailer starts with a message that would appeal to many small business owners. "When your employees are like family ..." it reads, with an image of a vehicle's back window with stick figure workers (holding a briefcase, a donut, a stack of papers, a clipboard, and a cup of coffee). This is attention-grabbing for a couple of reasons. First of all, business owners want to believe that they're paternalistic (or maternalistic) whether they are or not. Second, it takes a very familiar, almost iconic image from everyday life and serves it up in a new and humorous way.

On the address panel, a teaser gets right to the point, identifying the product that's being promoted and an important benefit. "Get a group health plan quote online in under 5 minutes. It's that simple." Convenience, ease, and speed are all communicated in plain language. The image from the front cover of the piece wraps to reveal a few more stick figure workers. And, recognizing that consumers today (whether B2C or B2B) want a multichannel experience and a choice about how they respond, the address panel also offers Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube addresses. Unfortunately, these are listed in lilliputian type and are early impossible to read. That's what we call "Good concept, bad execution."

Happily, the inside spread — for the most part — uses larger type.

The outside teaser is paid off inside "... give 'em a health plan they can relate to. Start with benefits that are good for employees — and your bottom line." The yin-yang set up continues with body copy that lists, side-by-side, benefits for the employer and benefits for the employees. The spread finishes with a response URL that can be used to get a quote in less than five minute. The offer panel works particularly hard. In addition to the call-to-action, there are three simple steps listed, which act as proof points for the recipient so they believe the "under 5 minutes" promise. There's also a photo of a "complimentary handbook," and a special key code to save time. Throughout the inside spread, there are additional stick figure workers, all of whom seem especially productive, happy, and healthy because, assumedly, they now have United Healthcare. 

Our only issue with the inside spread is similar to our issue with the exterior address panel. There are disclaimer footnotes that are not only set in teensy tiny type, but they're also reversed out of blue. Very (very, very) difficult to read. Buyers are wary of footnotes to begin with. When you include them and they're virtually unreadable, you don't seem trustworthy.

Aside from those small (literally, small) concerns, the piece is informative, clever, and downright fun. 

The Bs at B Direct give it a thumbs-up.

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