Every piece is personalized with the person’s name or home town — the curious 41⁄2-inch-by-91⁄2-inch letter, the membership card, the back of the bright-yellow reply envelope, and the two sheets of personalized labels.
But MADD seems to have gone corporate, rational and analytical, sans the emotional appeal. The personalized stamps no longer have the MADD logo on them, bur rather children’s drawings of happy people, animals and shooting stars.
More to the point, the letter from MADD president Wendy J. Hamilton (in a large, sans serif font) begins:
Dear Nancy D----
I am writing today to ask your help in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Owenton Area Annual Fund Campaign. If we hope to make America’s roads — and those in your area — safe for our families and loved ones, we really need your help!
In my opinion, this is an absolutely emotionless, colorless, truly ordinary lead. You can find the real reason Wendy is writing on the MADD Web site.
The heart of the matter
Wendy was inspired to get involved with MADD following the Sept. 19, 1984, car accident that killed her 32-year-old sister Becky and 22-month-old nephew, Timmy. Becky’s car was struck by that of a drunken driver, forcing the vehicle off the side of the road and several feet onto the grassy shoulder. Becky died instantly. Timmy died approximately two hours later, only moments before his father arrived at the hospital emergency room where Becky worked as an ER nurse.
Ultimately, the offender who caused the deaths served only 11 months of the two concurrent five-and-a-half-year prison terms to which he was sentenced.
And this wasn’t the first time this family had suffered a loss at the hands of a drunken driver. In the 1960s, Becky’s cousin John, 18, was killed as a result of riding with a friend who was driving drunk; and, before Becky was born, her uncle Robert, 20, was struck by an impaired driver while driving an ambulance.
Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.