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Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Taking it to the next level
Deborah Block and Paul Karps

July, 2010

We’re always on the prowl, so to speak, for direct mail packages that feature something that’s just a little bit different . . . something that really makes them stand out from the crowd.

That’s exactly what we found in this lapsed member reactivation mailing from The Nature Conservancy (Arlington VA). Mailed in an oversized #12, the four-page letter—focusing on the plight of the jaguar—includes numerous handwritten comments and notations in what appears to be a dark blue felt-tip pen. Okay, that in and of itself is nothing revolutionary. Been there, done that.

But as you can see below, page two takes the concept to a whole new level. At the bottom of the page, the signer, TNC’s Director of Membership Begoña Vázquez-Santos, says, “Wait—if you’ll excuse my weak artistic abilities, I’ll draw you a rough map of the area:”

Now that’s different! And it really serves to personalize and humanize the appeal. Overall, the handwritten notations add a rather homey, folksy quality.

The top of page four is also pretty catchy. Here, take a look:

To be honest, as is often the case in this column, not everything in the featured mailing works for us. For example, while the outer envelope asks, “Can a jaguar purr?” you have to wait all the way until the bottom of page four to find out the answer (or even a reference to the question). And in our book, that’s just too much tease. (For the record , according to letter copy, the answer is “no.”)

We also find the font size in the letter to be way too small. And the cleverness of the letter’s blue handwriting—and homespun tone—never carries through to the other components, which are pretty institutional.

We do, however, like the way the letter begins by telling the story of an actual jaguar. Even so, it would have been nice to refer to the story at the end of the letter—or elsewhere in the package (as in the call to action on the reply form).

But when it comes to offering an interesting twist on the handwritten notation concept, we’re more than happy to say “great work!”

See for yourself by clicking here.

Copywriters Deborah Block and Paul Karps are partners in BK Kreative, 1010 Varsity Court, Mountain View CA 94040, phone (650) 962-9562 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (650) 962-9562      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, email


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