And the Winners Are …
"The second challenge was that we needed to figure out a way to acquire more donors without the use of premiums such as a plush toy or calendar," he adds. "These types of acquisition packages, while producing a high response rate, did not result in the type of high-value members that Ocean Conservancy needed to grow both net revenue and its pool of donor prospects."
Overall, our judges conceded that the numbers aren't remarkable, especially considering the 0.8 percent response rate and cost of $2.73 to raise a dollar. But they agreed that this mailing met its intended goals and would generate more engaged, more loyal and higher-lifetime-value donors.
Make no mistake, this mailing is like a punch in the gut. The vivid and heartbreaking poster image draws you in immediately, and the effect isn't offset by a lot of additional information, save for some stats that are equally hard to swallow, a simple letter and a reply device that carry over the imagery and tone.
"From the very first sentence, the copy grabs your attention," writes Gold Awards judge Scott Swedenburg. "You are warned about the shocking images, which only makes most people want to read further.
"The shocking pictures make you want to help," he adds. "The poster then becomes an involvement piece, which the reader may or may not put on a wall, but would definitely want to share with others. This is helping build a community of future members."
Fellow judge Paul Bobnak mentioned that the use of a poster as the outer is still enough of a novelty to be really effective, especially combined with the pull-no-punches imagery and content.
"The strategy was a success," Schoewe explains. "We tested the package against an existing nonpremium control package. For outside lists, the trash poster had a response rate 49 percent higher than the control, which was a highly significant difference.