Soaring on Simplicity
For direct mail copywriting and creative team Paul E. Barry and Rosalie G. Barry, the objective set forth by the Air Force Association in 1997 was a simple one: Craft a membership appeal to sell accident insurance to a decidedly military audience.
The Barrys knew from prior experience in mailing to this demographic that a straightforward solicitation devoid of bells and whistles would win out over more elaborate package concepts. And since the husband-wife tandem maintains a penchant for personalization, they opted to intersperse the recipient’s name, military title, address, official membership number and response deadline date throughout the mailing — a decision that would earn them a seven-year control. The package mails twice a year to organization members who care about aerospace power and a strong national defense: 100,000 in September and 20,000 in January.
About the package
“To address this membership, those packages that are successful tend to be plain and simple,” affirms Rosalie Barry, one-half of Marlton, N.J.-based direct-marketing specialist firm Chelsea Court. “We had seen direct mail kits with flashy, expensive, colorful brochures that just didn’t work. This audience tends to respond best to bland, official-looking mailings. Our outer [envelope] really smacks of that.”
The No. 10 carrier-envelope effort includes a two-page letter, reply form, two buckslips that outline the benefits of the insurance package and a BRE that makes response easy. For the outer, the Barrys featured two lines of teaser copy in blue typeface and one in red typeface: “Membership Benefit Notification”; “Non-transferable Dated Material ... Please Respond By Closing Date Inside”; and “Eligible for New Higher Benefits,” with a red arrow pointing downward to the addressee information seen through the poly window. Displayed just above the first line of copy is a small blue AFA crest, the only graphic image on the white outer.