From the Ashes
In summary, if the wording, color, location or numbering of your mail-piece design too closely resembles the markings of a copyright design of the USPS, the package might not be mailable. If an average postal clerk, after viewing your outside envelope, thinks the mailer has requested and paid for a special service such as Priority Mail, then expect it will be treated as such. You might owe a lot more postage than you had planned.
An Overly Spear-ited Effort
Submitted by Jeff Brooks, Merkle
The Campaign: It takes some doing to actually lose money in a direct-mail piece to current donors. You’re pretty much going to come out ahead no matter how bad your work is. But I once managed to lose money in this situation.
It was for a religious organization, one that was known mainly for its work in Communist and former Communist nations, though it worked all over the world, including among “newly discovered” tribal groups in places like the Amazon and New Guinea.
The organization wanted to raise funds for this latter part of its work. At first I was skeptical about something so different from what it usually talked to its donors about, but when I got the material about one of the tribes it worked with, I began to change my mind. It was dramatic, exciting stuff.
This particular tribe (let’s call them the Kavira Tribe) recently had transformed from hostile and warlike to peaceful and seeking spiritual help. It was an irresistible story. I even remember my opening sentence: “Three years ago, if you’d visited the Kavira Tribe, they would have greeted you with a quick spear-thrust through your neck.”
It was a great direct-mail package: good writing, great design and a cool fundraising offer.
The Flop: The piece lost money. Quite a bit of it.