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Mailbox Monday


Direct mail can run the gamut from sensational (3D packages, lenticular artwork, pop-ups and inflatables) to ho-hum (form letters, plain text postcards, jury duty notices). As agency creatives, we would normally assume that direct mail coming from a local municipality would fall into that second yawn-inducing category. The same assumption would be made if we were told that a direct mail package was being sent as a public service.

Well, in the case of a self-mailer we just received — from the Town of Natick, MA, promoting addiction education, prevention, and recovery — both assumptions would be wrong.

The 12-page booklet is informative, useful, engaging, and filled with sleek design choices and graphics. Visually, it begs to be read .

The cover incudes a word wall of concerning community issues: Substance Use Disorder, Addiction, Stress, Underage Drinking, Vaping, Driving Under the Influence, and more. Inside, a Welcome panel communicates a sense of urgency, alluding to how COVID-19 affected community mental health. There are photos of program volunteers and participants, as well as logos from affiliated organizations. Natick 180 is positioned as "One community, together."

Inside, content is organized in digestible chunks and punctuated by eye-catching graphics and digital calls-to-action. Current statistics add credibility and immediacy, while tools and tips help the recipient take action in their own household — whether that's preventing their own overdose or recognizing self-destructive behavior in others. There's a directory of state, national, and local resources. While the subject matter is serious, the design is user-friendly, easy to absorb and put to use, and non-judgmental.

The same information could have been delivered in a letter (albeit a long one). By presenting so much of it visually, Natick 180 is encouraging both readership and retention. According to research by 3M (the sticky note company), visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than the same information delivered only in text. And people retain 80% of what they see versus 20% of what they read.

The Bs at B Direct give this direct mailer a thumbs up. It isn't just nice design for a good cause; it's smart too.


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