I don’t remember if my first impression was visual or tactile, but I do know I shoved aside that day’s mailbox loot to concentrate on the captivating pink baronial. Rough in texture and squishy, the outer envelope looked like a child’s drawing — markers on stock just shy of pulpy construction paper. A tidy, white label addressed to me flew the package; the back was equally colorful with a big, yellow sunflower and a leaf that seemed to drift on a breeze. Inside I discovered the partially deflated Bubble Wrap® liner, the explanation for the envelope’s squishiness. And — aha! — as I felt

“How to Look Good Naked” … “Yard Crashers” … “Pimp My Ride” … “Extreme Makeover” … “Kitchen Nightmares” … “What Not to Wear” … “This Old House” … “Makeover Manor” — we are a society obsessed with transformation, renovation and beautification projects. And while I can’t match the pimpologists’ promise to “turn your hooptie into a dope-ass, date magnet,” I see plenty of letter copy that could benefit from a talented wordsmith’s makeover. I don’t mean changing the offer — although lackluster offers also abound. Instead, I suggest restyling the language to get your offer noticed, in a good way. Your letter’s

Wow! Who ever thought the Gold Awards could be so exciting? The sun was setting on judgement day, and we had a tie for Package of the Year. A first! So, I polled our four judges — Steve Froehlich, director of development analytics at the ASPCA; Tim O’Leary, vice president of McPherson Associates; Paul Bobnak, director of North American Publishing Co.’s Who’s Mailing What! Archive; and FS Senior Editor Abny Santicola. After some soul searching and spirited debate, they weighed in: two for one package and the other two for the other package.

It’s not every day someone sends you underwear. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of fundraising packages I receive annually, this one from the Southwest Indian Children’s Fund is a hands-down standout.

I have bins full of T-shirts and umbrellas and fleece blankets and teddy bears and all sorts of pens and pins and what-nots in addition to heaps of non-premium mail. But until that fateful day, no one had ever sent me underwear.

Bravo to St. Mary’s/Westside Food Bank Alliance for a mailing that hits its message home on the outer envelope and jolts recipients inside. What’s more, it does so by employing a teaser made up of just two simple images and seven words. The white No. 10 envelope features a shrunken image of a $1 bill tinted green with the words “100 of These” below it. Next to the dollar bill is a color photograph of a full plate of food with the words “Provide 700 of These!” below it. There’s a delicate balance when it comes to using a teaser on the outer envelope. You want

Most direct-response copywriters have learned the importance of presenting benefits instead of listing features. Many, however, commit less publicized sins of commission and omission, which can be equally harmful to response. Here are eight copy glitches that dry-gulch results: 1. BEING TOO LOGICAL AND NEAT. It happens because writers forget that people respond with their hearts, not just with their heads. A direct mail package or print ad is not simply a linear sales presentation. When you try to sell with 100 percent logic, the resulting creative lacks the warmth and emotion that engages the reader. The concominant of neatness is lack of

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