The World’s Worst Direct Mail Piece?

This showed up in the mailbox yesterday. Yes, mail still shows up in our mailbox. At least 50% of it is unwanted in that “we didn’t ask for this to be sent to us and it does not interest us” kind of way. The rest of the mail still serves some purpose: magazine subscriptions, bills that we still pay the old school way, greeting cards and the like. But at least 50% of our mail is unsolicited direct mail and probably 50% of that goes unopened into recycling bin.

The rest does get opened. Usually because there is something interesting about it and as our business relies in part on advertising and direct mail, well, it pays to see what the cleverer kids are up to.

But this piece is remarkable! I think that really could be a terrible off the shelf, Microsoft Office style fake corporate logo. There is a “US Airways”, of course. But if you Google “US Airlines”, you’ll get sent to a cheap tickets spot that does not appear to be related to these guys. And the come on! I “qualified” for two roundtrip airline tickets? Really? How?

It’s so cheesy, I’m tempted to call and tell them they’ve won something!

So bad it's good.

It’s either sheer genius or exactly what it looks like.

In our modern web connected world, we take email spam for granted. We all page through our in boxes each morning and chuckle at the “Urgent Appeals” from Nigerian businessmen and hit the delete button. We have people selling gold and watches and “coupons” to stores that we never shop in. I still get several viagra “deals” from Canada each week.

You have to presume that like all direct mail, or even magazine circulation, there’s a certain “break even” level that makes it worthwhile to keep doing what you do. So what is the “break even” percentage on all that spam?

This “spamy” type of unsolicited direct mail must be the same way. But the costs have to be higher than a bulk spam mailing. The paper, the postage (this had an envelope with a stamp on it. The envelope appeared hand addressed (which would have been even more brilliant), but closer inspection proved it was some sort of auto pen. The signature on the letter was the same. So this wasn’t entirely cheap. But this operation clearly needed someone to run the list, print the mailing, and man the “800” number.

I recall getting similar come ons from “travel” operations back in the last two decades. But those were pretty elaborate mailings. There were colorful folders, “ticket holders”, even fake tickets. Maybe in this stark new age of austerity, this is the best these operators can do. Plain white envelopes, blue ink auto pens, text that sounds like the person who wrote it was tired and didn’t believe their own sales pitch.

For whatever reason, I must be on someone’s list and someone must think I want to travel badly.

I don’t. At least not where they would send me.


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