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Mailbox Monday


Would you rather receive a greeting card or a direct mail solicitation?

We thought so.

Whether it's from years of Hallmark's "When you want to send the very best" advertising or it's simply a human nature desire to be loved and cherished, we all open envelopes that look like they could contain a birthday, holiday, thank you, or "just because" card. Even if — like the sample above that we recently received — the charade is spoiled from the get-go with a business return address and, even worse, a pre-printed indicia.

Nevertheless, this package, from Oriental Trading Company's "Department of Fun" did intrigue us and achieved mission number one for any direct mail piece.

It was opened.

Inside, we found a two panel, greeting card of a brochure. A fun image on the cover (an adorable little girl playing with "slime," something virtually any parent is familiar with) pays off the headline "STRRRRRETCH Your Dollar Further." The company's identity, logo, and contact info appear in header and footer, and a promotional callout insists, "We MISS You! HERE'S $20 on us to come back and have some FUN!"

Inside, there's a plastic $20 gift card tipped onto the left panel with a reassuring message that "There are no strings attached!" and q paragraph that explains how to redeem the offer. On the right side, there's long copy that encourages us to "have a ball this fall!" It lists five ways to "kick off your shopping spree," including ideas like decorating for Halloween, celebrating fall, refreshing a Sunday School class, getting crafty, and gearing up for back to school. The copy is engaging and cleverly written, but a bit hard on the eyes. It would be better suited to a different format, like a letter or barrel-fold self-mailer. A call-to-action at the bottom of the panel encourages us to connect via social media.

Finally, the back cover is used for one more (optimistic, post-pandemic) message "SO READY TO GET TOGETHER!" and six product-related images, reinforcing the celebrations that Oriental Trading makes more fun.

The greeting card concept could have been more consistent with tweaks like a handwriting font, bulk rate stamp, and blind return address on the envelope, and less running copy on the inside plus a signature from "Your friends at Oriental Trading."

But, in the long run, the Bs at B Direct give the package a thumbs-up. It was opened, read, and the offer redeemed.

Fun mission accomplished.

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