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Oh fish, look at this Direct Mail

Many years ago I was bitten by the Direct Marketing bug and spent a couple of years in a specialist DM agency. For many, Direct Mail could either mean a leaflet stuck inside an envelope or a fancy mail package that borders on the gimmicky (you know stuff like a jack-in-the-box). For the classical DM practitioner it is neither – it is about the science of database marketing and the art of Direct Mail copy backed with great offers – the hooks that get the response.

While most of the award winning DM stuff is of the gimmicky kind, they do have a role to play sometimes. Take for example, this direct mail idea: 401(k) Squared, a small company that specializes full-time in 401k plan development, asked LeeReedy to get a big bang out of their modest direct mail budget. They developed a direct mail piece that featured a live fish inside a box adorned with messaging. The concept? “If someone’s not watching over your 401(k), it won’t thrive either.”


Via Denver Egotist and The Inspiration Room Daily.

The result? According to the agency: Within weeks, 401(k) Squared had secured a $10M account and was in discussions with a number of large companies to manage their 401(k) accounts, ranging in size from $500k to $20M.

Nice work. Direct Mailers of this kind work on two counts: jaw dropping value or cute quotient value. Shall we put this down as our ‘pet’ DM campaign? Nothing fishy about it? Did the DM ‘bowl’ you over? I better stop now.



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  1. Did I read “modest” as well? Don’t think so. A bowl and a fighter fish along with a wee bit of squishy worm crush is expensive. I bet packaging and mailing charges (I hope to God these were hand delivered, cos last time I checked live animals were not mailable) for this would have been a bomb.

    A very hurt fish lover I am.