Mailing a Metaphor
This mailing from the National Parks Conservation Association doesn’t look too different from the outside. The white, glossy outer consists of two 6-inch-by-9-inch panels folded together and tab sealed. The face panel is bare save the address box and NPCA return address, while the back displays a four-color thumbnail picture of a cliff and the teaser, “When you think of our national parks, what words come to mind?”
When the seal is broken, the face panel opens to the left to show another panel with a picture of an evergreen forest and the word, “Magnificent?” When this panel is lifted to the right, three panels are exposed. The two end panels are bare while the one in the middle shows a picture of rocks in a creek bed and the word, “Breathtaking?”
When these three panels are lifted up, six new panels appear and open to a size of 12 inches by 27 inches. The two middle panels show another picture of a forest with the word “Priceless?” below it. Just below that, in a larger font, is the headline, “How about threatened?” What follows is an introductory message to recipients announcing the mailing’s purpose that stretches across the lower row of panels and begins: “Dear Friend, Believe it or not, despite the care and concern of many Americans, our national parks are in grave danger today …”
From this set of panels the mailing opens one last time, its insides revealing that it is in fact a 24-inch-by-27-inch poster of a forest on one side. Resting inside the maze of panels and now revealed are the mailing’s other elements: a 3.5-inch-by-8.5-inch membership acceptance form; a 5.5-inch-by-8.5-inch insert that lists the member benefits, which include a tote bag premium; and a BRE.
The mailing’s like a cross between a choose-your-own-adventure book and one of those origami question-and-answer games in the way it teases recipients inward. The poster and the mailing’s contents are truly an intriguing surprise, appearing to prospects like hidden treasures and serving as a metaphor for the forests the organization works to protect.