This credit card promo from Chase caused me to fire up the mailbox monitor. The premise is that you get a free monthly FICO report with the Chase Slate card. My household has been carpet bombed with these packages recently, both my wife and I receiving multiple mailings sometimes on the same day. There are a few things about it that make me wonder.
First, Chase practices poor list hygiene which doesn’t dedupe recipients with the same or similar name, and obviously does not do its own credit scoring. Speaking of which, does everybody know what the promise of a “Free FICO score” means? Would it have been better to simply say “free credit report”, a term that’s used inside? And note the name of the signatory of the main letter. Florian Eggs-Kring is a moniker which would have the Monty Python lads doing backflips, which is my point. Might a more neutral pseudonym have been a better choice? I understand that Florian is responsible for this mailing, but if he/she loses even a few responses because of distraction it’s probably not a good deal.
One of my maxims is “if you see a mailing repeatedly, that means it’s successful.” But I have the feeling this package is the exception that proves the rule; someone had a huge budget and didn’t feel it was necessary to test. Florian Eggs-Kring, if you’re reading this please tell me I’m off base. (Of note, it’s not a Visa or MasterCard or Amex so it’s not going to wotk initially in a lot of terminals; maybe Chase needs to build a huge user base quickly in order to convince merchants to accept it.)
Let’s move on. The Salvation Army envelope, for a large donor mailing, starts strong with “If this shield” but then trails off because “could talk” is illegible in the mailbox (it looks much more legible in the photo than in real life). The problem could have been solved, or at least mitigated, with some adjustments at blueline stage or even on press (dial back the magenta). The lesson is, no matter noble your ideals, you have to follow through in production.
The green “Important Parent Meeting” on this academic-green self mailer is simple and brilliant. No parent of a school age child can ignore an apparently official announcement of a meeting. This solicitation is for a seminar on how to get financial aid and I bet it’s successful.
Our final example offers some beautiful stage management for AAA Life. Note the three-dimensional effect of the mock-vellum certificate seen through the window, and the shadow behind the fake mailing label below. Inside we find a complete application pack which asks the reader to mail a check for term life insurance. This company is extremely thrifty and I can’t believe they would have approved this package if it wasn’t a winner in testing. I hope it is so we can keep this great designer working; you don’t see much direct mail created with such care nowadays.
NOTE: as always, click on the image if you’d like to see any of these in greater detail, then click again to blow up the photo for a super-close up look.