In Praise of Direct Mail
Kevin Salwen on Culture
There's a reason it's called 'junk mail.' It wastes our time, it wastes our natural resources and it rarely brings anything interesting. But I must say, I love the creativity of some of the direct-mail purveyors. It's a little like watching carnival barkers or even a 3-card monty game: I never act on it, but I find myself admiring their pluck. (Yes, yes, this is counterbalanced by the realization that some less-sophisticated recipients might actually fall for this crap.)
Recently, I've gotten a few from mortgage companies that have told me that I'm a winner. (I love when my ego is stroked at bulk-mail rate.) I've gotten some great ones that look like official government documents. (These are high on the amusement scale strictly for their bait-and-switch feel.) Samples are always fun -- the pen with our company name on it, or the catalog that has my name inserted into a set-aside area.
Lately, my mailbox has been graced by magazine or newspaper companies that are stunning in their desperation to pick up new subscribers. The Wall Street Journal pitched me with an envelope that said only 'Selection Committee' in the return, because I had been selected to receive a lowish rate. Wahoo. In today's mail, I received a great envelope that said nothing but 'Explanation of Benefits;' I opened it to learn, to my tremendous excitement, that the 'benefits' were that I could snare a Forbes subscription for only $20. Who needs health insurance with benefits like that?
This stuff could be seen as pathetic if it weren't so amusing. Got any great direct mail stories?