Unusually, this week I begin work on a new direct mail campaign. Very exciting and a breath of fresh air! Email marketing has become so prevalent, is the lost art of direct mail making a comeback? I think yes and it’s easy to understand why. We are all inundated with email marketing selling us products and services, keeping us up to date with news and offering information on a topic we are (possibly) interested in. Many of which are unopened – it’s all too easy to hit delete.

From a creative point-of-view, direct mail is a refreshing project to work on. It opens up all kind of possibilities; clever ideas, smart visuals, paper engineering, box construction and even prop making. It is a physical act that your audience will have to take part in – the act of opening the envelope/packaging to reveal what’s inside. You are buying a piece of the recipients time – so best you make it worthwhile.

Historically direct mail used to be rather formulaic and often lengthy, heavy with copy and sales content. Nowadays the new digital age is equally as restrictive as DM used to be – email marketing has become formulaic too. Thus direct mail has been given a new lease of life and has become more acceptable to recipients as it is unusual and if done properly should amuse and create interest. In it’s simplest form it could be just a nicely written, personalised letter. Very effective if crafted with the right hooks!

Below are award winning DM campaigns (source: http://www.dandad.org/en/ten-years-award-winning-direct-mail)

Chunky Mail


Award: Wood Pencil / Direct / Direct Mail / 2012
Agency: JWT London
Client: Nestle

To communicate the chunkiness of Kit Kat Chunky and drive trial, JWT London created a mailer that looked just like the card postmen leave behind when they’re unable to deliver a package. The real card often states that the package couldn’t be delivered because it was ‘too big for your letterbox’. JWT London tongue-in-cheek card claimed that we couldn’t deliver a Kit Kat Chunky because it was ‘too chunky for your letterbox’. Recipients were directed to collect their free Kit Kat Chunky from their local newsagents.

Natural History Museum Eraser


Award: Wood Pencil / Direct / Addressed Direct Mail Low Volume 501 – 10,000 / 2006
Agency: hat-trick design
Client: Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum needed to produce a cost-effective direct mail piece that would raise awareness of the talks at the Darwin Centre.
The eraser, produced as direct mail, puts the issue of extinction literally in the palm of your hand.

Air Force FM


Award: Graphite Pencil / Direct / Direct Mail / 2014
Agency: George Patterson Y&R Melbourne
Client: Defence Force Recruiting

George Patterson Y&R Melbourne created a dedicated Air Force radio station, playing Defence Force Recruiting’s radio ad on loop. But before you could hear it, you had to build a radio. University engineering students were sent packs with everything they needed to construct an FM radio. Except one thing, instructions. Candidates proved their problem solving skills; wiring, soldering and assembling the radio. Once complete, students tuned to Air Force FM, our radio station created for this campaign. The radio ad instantly offered successful students a fast track to an exciting career.