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Things That Go Bump in The Mailbox


When we tell people that we run an ad agency, they're usually impressed. Maybe they're imagining Don Draper and company, multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercial budgets, or just a wacky way of life that makes their (insert less exciting career option here) job seem ho-hum.

However ... when we add that we specialize in direct marketing, the impressed are a little less so. Suddenly the mid-century modern glamour of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is replaced by dull grey metal file cabinets and USPS bins of direct mail.

The truth is out there — and it falls somewhere in the middle.

Unlike Don, Roger and the rest, we don't drink or smoke (or sexually harass) on the job. We've never had (or even aspired to) a Super Bowl budget. However, we do have a lot of fun. And, if anyone thinks that direct mail has to be boring, we will have to agree to disagree.

Better yet, we'll change your mind.

Here are some of the things we've sent in direct mail packages over the years:

• A Magic 8 Ball
• A package of Twinkies
• A voo-doo doll (complete with pins)
• Custom comic books
• Glow in the dark adhesive stars
• A Leonardo DaVinci puzzle
• A stuffed rabbit (the toy kind, not the taxidermed kind)
• A carrot on a stick
• A Slinky
• 100 smiley-face buttons
• Elvis sunglasses
• A pith helmet
• Paper dolls
• A squishy bull
• Instant soup mix and a packet of nuts (Get it? "Soup to nuts.")
• Personalized posters
• A Ouija board
• A custom box of cereal
• A rearview mirror for your computer monitor
• An autographed business book
• A champagne bottle filled with jelly beans
• A personalized silver-plated computer mouse
• A Swiss Army knife
• A digital picture frame
• An analog picture frame
• Coasters
• A custom tee shirt
• A golf umbrella
• A nip of tequila
• A remote control car
• A dream-catcher
• A pop-up calendar
• An empty wallet
• A custom card deck
• Juggling balls
• A DVD of Mission Impossible

Plus every conceivable desk toy and business travel accessory you can possibly imagine.

And, we haven't even listed the "ones that got away." Glow-in-the-dark zombies, for example. (Let us know if you're interested; we have a source.)

Working mainly with B2B clients, marketing high-ticket technology solutions to a highly targeted audience, we've been fortunate to have healthy budgets. And, we admit, searching for that out-of-the-ordinary 3-D "freemium" item is always fun. 

But, more importantly, each and every one of these (and many, many more — hey, we've been doing this for quite a while) was the payoff to a creative concept that dramatized, in a fun and memorable way, the key benefit of our client's product, solution, or service.

And, at the end of the day, funky gift item aside, that's why they got results.

Mailbox Monday
Mailbox Monday

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