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Mailbox Monday


According to our friends at Deloitte (and, yes, we really do have friends at Deloitte), total back-to-school spending is expected to reach $27.8 billion or $519 per student this year.


Retailers take advantage of this annual burst with promotions on jackets, shoes, backpacks, notebooks, etc. etc. etc. The creative, in many cases, features happy kids waving good-bye to even happier parents. Behind each mom and dad's smile, we can imagine a common prayer. "Please let little (insert student name here) have a good year." Whether Junior is headed to pre-K, sixth grade, or freshman year at a university four states away, parents are willing to pay for the clothes and supplies that will help her fit in. No one wants to see their child bullied, and if the right lunchbox will give him the confidence he needs in the cafeteria — truly one of the most intimidating rooms in any school — then it's well worth a trip to Target.

Recognizing the anxiety around back-to-school (and the willingness of parents to pay to alleviate it), we thought the oversized postcard we received this week was right on strategy.

It's from Paradise Dental Associates, a local dental practice. And, the card leads with an emotional appeal before heading into lots (and lots) of promotional copy. "Send them Back to School with a Confident Smile!" reads the headline, next to a stock image of a smiling pig-tailed girl in a classroom setting. If anyone's going to succeed this year, it's this confident young girl and her pearly whites.

The card measures a generous 6" x 11", and the company uses pretty much all of that real estate. On the art side, in addition to the back-to-school headline and the smiling scholar, there are two coupons: $78 Exam, Cleaning & X-Rays; and $1 Exam & X-Rays. These are indicated with printed cutaway lines, but would be better placed along an edge for easier clipping. The art side also includes a phone number and URL, and brief copy urging the recipient, "Don't let your smile hold you back! Schedule today!"

On the message and address side, the practice makes use of satisfied patient testimonials and quotes, and a bulleted list of features, such as Evening & Saturday Appointments; Same-Day Crowns; In-House Specialists; and Invisible Teeth Straightening. Another stock photo shows a happy family. Reversed out of the photo, the practice's address is difficult to read, but the card gives other ways to get in touch.

The whole thing is printed in clinical shades of pale turquoise and sand (think dental hygenists in scrubs), a little drab, but categorically appropriate we suppose. Overall, the card is informative but too busy.

Nevertheless, thanks to its clever strategy, positioning your child's dental health as the confidence they need to succeed in the cutthroat world that is elementary school, we give this postcard a thumbs-up.

And a big smile.


Mailbox Monday
Mailbox Monday

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