Anatomy of a Control: Keep It Simple
In the last issue, we examined the masterful “thank-you” mailing from Disabled American Veterans that featured patriotism and guilt as the copy drivers. This time, let us look at a long-running control from the World Wildlife Fund that sticks five sharp knives in the reader’s gut — fear, guilt, anger, greed and salvation.
What’s more, this renewal effort (that also is used in acquisitions) is a model of simplicity. For all the razzle-dazzle, high-tech printing and production techniques available, it often is the simple printed letter that packs the biggest wallop and costs the least in the mail.
The carrier envelope
The front of the white #10 envelope has six elements:
- The cornercard with the return address and that famous huggable panda with its big eyes and sweet expression.
- Printed indicia with fake cancellation lines and fake stamp with a second panda logo and the line, “Saving Life on Earth.”
- Teaser copy: Emergency. Immediate Reply Requested.
- Left window with the name and address showing through.
- Drawing of a red-and-white umbrella decorated with a third panda logo and the following handwritten scrawl: “FREE WWF umbrella if you renew today.”
- In mousetype at lower left under the window: “Made from recycled paper; envelope and window are recyclable.” This is followed by a tiny recycle symbol of arrows going around in a circle.
The ‘recycle’ symbol
Direct mail is an interruptive process where the writer works hard to keep the prospect’s attention and lead him into the argument. The business of recycling is an extraneous thought that could interrupt the interruption. In fact, the back of the CRE has a long entry on recycling. But since it’s on the back of the reply envelope, the donor doesn’t see it until she licks the flap and the sale is complete. It doesn’t interrupt her train of thought or the sales process. And it leaves her feeling even better about WWF.