Going ‘New School’: Harvard Medical School Leaves its Stuffy Reputation in the Dust
That’s not all the outer offers, as its back poses questions that prospects might not know the answers to (the answers are, naturally, inside).
The inside is equally colorful. The unorthodox letter begins not with the salutation, but with bullet-point health questions that truly engage the reader. An invitation-style card is included with the question, “Should you call the doctor? — getting prospects to open what turns out to be a letter with more information.
Rounding out the package are a bonus report offer with a history of the Harvard Medical School and the newsletter, a voucher reply form, and a small pamphlet with “26 HEALTH REVELATIONS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW … from the doctors at Harvard Medical School!”
“The copy is more provocative than anything Harvard has done before. It really teases people throughout to get them to keep looking further. There are a number of ‘Ah-ha!’ moments for them,” describes DeWitt, who adds that Scheck really did his homework, including finding information this demographic should know but might not — such as which supplements they shouldn’t be taking.
Convincing the top dogs
Because the effort was a far cry from the typical Harvard mailing, getting it approved was no easy task. According to DeWitt, many of the editors were taken aback by this very “unHarvard” piece. However, she and her marketing colleagues were able to persuade the editors and board members to go out on a limb.
“We were already feeling the pressure and competition of the marketplace and the Internet. We told them, ‘It’s a test. We’ve got to do this. This is a great copywriter. Let’s give this a shot.’ Ken had had some successes with us before. He had a good track record. They swallowed their reservations and said, ‘Go with it,’” recounts DeWitt.