Keep the Singing Out of Direct Mail
I love my direct mail. I look forward to reviewing every piece of the mail in my mailbox. The best part of direct mail marketing is not how creative the package is, how good and responsive the list is, how strong the offer or how compelling the story about the kit is to me. The really exciting things about direct mail marketing are the disaster stories about the pieces of mail you never see in your mailbox.
Move closer, this could happen to you at any time.
Some of the best direct mail pieces you will never see. Here is just one more mailing kit you won’t see in your mailbox.
There are a lot of disaster stories out there; some are just plain sad, and some didn’t even make the mailstream. One such sad story began with the creative, and the clients decided that they wanted to have a singing microchip sing a popular song about their product. The song selected was very current, easy-to-remember, as well as short and sassy. The chip was inserted into a finely designed box, with a small product sample, and wrapped securely with a pleasing-to-the-eyes box wrapper. The 50,000 pieces were all hand-inserted, properly sorted and matched up with a personalized letter, wrapped and again personalized, stamped and ready to mail.
Leaving the mailing house with all of those perfectly wrapped packages, the truck driver entered the local USPS loading dock. Unfortunately, the truck driver was having trouble entering the bay and in frustration, he jammed the truck into reverse gear and slammed into the rear of the loading dock with a resounding thud… What happened next was heartbreaking melody. Most, if not all, of the microchips were accidentally activated by the sudden jarring of the truck, singing all of the words of the pre-programmed song in their entire 50,000-piece chorus. The orchestra did not stop; all of them kept repeating their songs—all at different times and in different segments over and over again. The back door of the truck was not allowed to open because the postmaster at the dock would not allow the truck to discharge its cargo until the singing stopped completely.
Undaunted, the truck driver informed the postmaster that after a few minutes of settling down to normal and balanced levels, the singing would all stop and a silent truck would prevail. The bellowing of the 50,000 voices was not to be silenced, even after a brief waiting time. Alas, silence was not going to happen. The postmaster kindly asked the truck driver to take his melodic shipment back to the mailing house. As you can imagine, neither the production manager, the creative director or the client were amused. The microchips continued singing their hapless song for about two days before their chip life died. With that, the mailing died as well.
All 50,000 pieces were dead, none could be saved, the entire mailing piece was lost and hundreds of thousand of dollars wasted on a singing chips. What did we all learn from this? Maybe having your mail talk back to you is not such a good idea.
James E. Sullivan is the project director of Optic Nerve Digital Direct Marketing. Reach him at email@example.com.