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Mailbox Monday


Before we ever heard of COVID 19, nearly 5 million Americans were already working remotely. Once the pandemic struck, according to Gartner, 88% of business organizations around the world mandated or encouraged their employees to work from home. So, while the economy is struggling for many industries, there are some products and services that are doing well ...

Sweatpants, for example. Sour dough starter, so we've heard. And, for some, home (or home office) improvements.

We just received a direct mail campaign from Pella Window & Door Replacement. It's a #10 window envelope with a single insert, which comprises a letter on one side (personalized, but misspelled — we'll get to that in a minute), and a flyer on the other side.

Let's start at the beginning.

The envelope includes a printed faux yellow sticky note with a teaser that reads "Exclusive fall savings inside just for you." An additional teaser below it urges us to "Act before this offer expires" and has a triangle/arrowhead steering us to the back, where a third teaser reads, "Windows and doors built to last. OFFER ENDS SOON."

Inside, the letter has a Johnson box in the upper left "EXQUISITE DESIGN. EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS." The letter is brief, well-organized and compelling. Bolded bullets emphasize "Diverse styles;" "Exceptional craftsmanship;" "Added safety and security;" and "Innovative technology." The offer is spelled out and in bold before the signature. And, the P.S. emphasizes the deadline and includes a phone number and URL. The letter itself works hard.

A sidebar running about a third of the way from the right edge includes a four-color photo with a caption, and another yellow block with offer details and a call-to-action.

The flipside of the letter, which is set up like a flyer or sell sheet, includes four ways that "WE'RE DEDICATED TO MAKING THE PROCESS EASY AND CONVENIENT." Each of the ways is highlighted with an icon and the list finishes with a logo mark reinforcing "The Pella Promise."

A sidebar running about a third of the way from the right edge includes a four-color photo with a caption, and another yellow block with offer details and a call-to-action.

That's not a typo. The sidebar of the back of the letter is virtually the same as the sidebar on the front of the letter (only the photo switches out). This is not just redundant, it's confusing. Where does the recipient look first? What's the front and what's the back?

Overall, the piece feels littered; there's too much going on outside as well as inside. And, the reader isn't guided along. There's a Habitat for Humanity logo (which is good) without any explanation (which is bad). The sidebars greatly overpower the content next to them and the typography is clunky. Neither photo is very attractive, and the paper stock is so thin that the images are washed out even as they bleed through. And, as mentioned before, the recipient's name is misspelled, a turn-off — especially when quality windows and doors can be such costly items.

Most of all, the package lacks the elegance and sense of design that would inspire someone to invest in upscale home improvements. More and better photography, a sleeker layout, and higher quality paper would definitely look — and feel — better.

The Bs must give the piece a thumbs down. (But, we did visit their website, which succeeds where the direct mail doesn't. Too bad they spent so much on postage ...)




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