“You need a streak of outrage. You need a sense of injustice. Without outrage, I don’t know how the hell you can do this work.”
— Roger Craver, of Craver, Mathews, Smith & Co.to Denny Hatch, 1993
Since its founding in 1961, Amnesty International has saved more than 50,000 lives — potential victims of murder, torture and execution by some of the nastiest regimes on earth. Considering what’s happening in the Middle East, Africa and even here in the United States, this organization’s work will never be done. If I had to pick one organization for which Roger Craver’s words are apropos, it would be Amnesty International.
The control package
The Amnesty International USA control is a model of elegance and simplicity both in its copy and the way the elements interact. Written by celebrated freelance copywriter Jerry Huntsinger a decade ago, it has been, in the words of Craver’s Michael P. Rooney, “the undisputed control ever since.”
The outer envelope is a plain, white No. 10 with no window and no teaser copy. The cornercard in red has the Amnesty International logo — a candle of hope surrounded by barbed wire — along with the name and address of the organization. The nonprofit 9.3 cents postage is a red, metered indicia. Envelopes don’t come any simpler than this.
Inside are five additional elements, the main one being a four-page letter consisting of two nested sheets printed front and back. The only color is the light-blue printing of the Amnesty International name, address, phone number and URL at the bottom. Everything else is black.
Printed in a Times font, every sentence is its own separate paragraph. No gray walls of type here. The reader’s eye moves easily from sentence to sentence and page to page.
A call to action
A unique feature is found in paragraph six of the letter, where the prospect is asked to take action. It’s not a pitch to send money; it is, rather, a request to sign and return the enclosed “Message of Hope” card.