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A package that hits dog owners where they live.

WHAM! POW! SOCKO! A newsletter DM package that really hits the prospect square between the eyes comes from The Whole Dog Journal.

1. The carrier. 6"x9" with double window, two-color teaser on both sides. "THE DOG FOOD BLACKLIST. (See other side)." The reverse copy cites problems and promises ("Product named inside") and offers a special report, "Dog food manufacturers hope you'll never see!"

Perhaps that copy was inspired by Boardroom Reports' classic envelope copy, "Ten things never to eat on an airplane."

The second window offers "FREE issue" and "FREE gift."

I did wonder if, instead of a preprinted indicia, a stamp with a dog wouldn't have been a good idea.

2. The letter. Four pages, typewriter copy headlined, "Brand-name dog foods you should never feed your dog." The text answers the questions posed on the carrier and names names, as well as promising the newsletter will give answers to problems that resonate with dog owners: Late night barking, furniture chewing, running away.

I did question positioning the offer as "like getting six months free." I don't think people really respond to that. "Half-Price," "You Save Half" or "50 percent off" would really be stronger.

Pet peeve. The "free issue" is only really free if you don't like it enough to subscribe. Otherwise, it folds into your annual sub. I liked the offer David Foster made at IOMA, which stressed the free issue was "really free," the paid sub would include "12 additional issues."

The double P.S. (we.., P.S. and P.P.S.) seemed a little odd since both had essentially the same copy about the premium report.

3. Brochure. Glossy, two-color, a couple of nice dog pix. Strong copy about the newsletter's contents and the special report. I would like to see the testimonials more completely ID'd. If the package is a winner, I might test it later dropping the brochure.

4. The lift letter. From the editor (the salesletter is signed by the publisher). Restates selling propositions nicely with additional benefits. "You'll spend less on costly drugs" and "You'll eliminate unnecessary trips to the vet." (I had a boss who would have red-penciled both of those contractions; he didn't want to see them in selling copy.) I didn't care for the P.S. copy about the limited supply of the special reports. I think prospects assume you will print more if needed.

5. The order form. 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" detaches in half to fit BRE. Includes involvement device sticker. Titled "Free Issue & Free Gift Reservation Card." The offer is $20, "That's $19 off the regular price." Seems odd. Why not make it $19.50, getting below the $20 price point or $19 so you can shout "More than Half Off"?

The reverse is blank. It could have been an opportunity for more testimonials.

"SEND NO MONEY NOW!" will maximize response, I suppose, but I think I would have worked in a line to allow something like, "Here's my check, rush my FREE issue and Special Report by Return Mail!"

6. The BRE. It's bright yellow. I think it was someone at the Harvard Business Publications who once told me they had tested brightly colored reply envelopes and they had boosted response. There's room left for a "Please Rush My Free Issue" cutline as well.

7. The garbage bulletin. I haven't seen these often lately. Headed "Urgent Alert," it announces the newsletter will now be published in full-color. Rather than on cheap paper to increase the illusion that it was rushed in at the last moment, the alert is glossy and shows a cover of the new full color edition.

Footnote. All in all I think it is a great package (I ordered, I have three dogs). I wanted to discuss it with the publisher (Belvoir) but repeated messages (5) were unreturned.

I could only wonder if they fear NL/NL would divulge trade secrets, which is hard to do when you've mailed tens of thousands of pieces. This has only happened to me once in doing marketing pieces for NL/NL--or, despite what I think, the package bombed and they didn't want to discuss it. I can't believe that.
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Title Annotation:DM Notebook
Author:Goss, Fred
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 19, 2009
Words:698
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