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Direct Marketing Can Be Both Innovative and Effective

Direct marketing has tremendous potential to reach consumers and to drive message and conversion. Done right, direct marketing bears little resemblance to the spam you receive every day from drug manufacturers, or the pizza flyers you find tucked under your windshield wiper in the mall parking lot.

Keep reading for a list of some of the most engaging, dynamic, and innovative direct marketing campaigns from the last decade or so. Entries include campaigns from Africa, the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world.

The Twenty-Year Calendar From Schott Solar

To emphasize the distinct nature of its warranty program, Schott Solar sent its wholesale partners a twenty-year wall calendar. The calendar was built like a day calendar, where you tear off one sheet for every day, and stuck out almost two feet from the wall.

The Species Eraser – Natural History Museum

species erasers from national history museum

The Natural History Museum was looking for a cost-effective way to draw awareness to a series of talks being produced at the Darwin Centre. With that in mind, they mailed constituents an eraser emblazoned with several endangered and extinct species. The more that they used the eraser, the less species would remain, underscoring the contemporary ongoing issue of worldwide extinction of species.

Air Force Radios – Australian Defense Force Recruiting

Australian Defense Recruiting was looking for an innovative way to reach university engineering students. They decided to send out FM radio building kits, without instructions, to key students they were hoping to recruit. Once a student had correctly constructed, soldered, and wired together the radio, they were tuned in to a custom station playing the Defense Force Recruiting message on a loop.

The Radio Sausage Party – WVRST

To drive potential consumers and influencers to a launch party for new Canadian radio station, WVRST marketers sent out blood-red t-shirts packaged in sausage-type casings and wrapped in butcher’s paper. The t-shirts, once removed from the casings, invited potential listeners and brand evangelists to attend a Sausage Party in honor of the station’s launch.

Kit Kat direct campaign too chunky for letterboxChunky Mail – Nestle Twix

In the UK, when an item is too big to be delivered to an individual mailbox, the letter carrier will leave behind a card that states that a package was “too big for your letterbox,” with instructions on where and how to retrieve it. Nestle Twix put together a direct mail campaign that mimicked these cards with a graphic for their new Kit Kat Chunky candy and the phrase “too chunky for your letterbox.” Consumers were then directed on where to get a free Kit Kat Chunky.

The Trillion Dollar Flyer – The Zimbabwean Newspaper

The Zimbabwean newspaper was forced to flee the country by a tyrannical government. Continuing to produce the paper in exile, they were then subject to a fifty-five percent import tax, which priced the paper beyond what an average Zimbabwean could afford.

At that time, Zimbabwean currency had also been devalued to the point where the Z$ trillion note, which was basically valueless, became the symbol for national economic strife. So the newspaper began a campaign to raise awareness of their plight worldwide, by printing their message directly on the Z$ trillion notes before distributing them throughout Zimbabwe, Africa, and the world.

Teenager CrisisLine – In Touch Community Service, Singapore

String and button envelopes are an old technology. In Touch Community Service of Singapore put them to highly effective use in their campaign to raise awareness of the need for volunteers for their teen crisis line by replacing the button with an illustrated teenager’s face.

amazing direct mail campaigns

Recipients of the direct mail campaign would wind the string from around the teenager’s neck to reach to materials inside the envelope, underscoring the idea that everyone can save a life.

Together Sweater – Target and Toms

To celebrate their collaboration, Target and Toms had the Together Sweater crafted and sent to brand evangelists and other friends of both brands. The sweater is designed to fit two or more people, and emphasizes the idea of bringing people together to serve the greater good. Influencers were encouraged to don the sweater with their friends and associates and take pictures for sharing via social media. And they did.

Direct Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Boring to Work

As you’ve seen from the examples above, direct marketing doesn’t have to be conventional and boring to work. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Direct mail marketing campaigns can be innovative, engaging, and an essential component of your marketing efforts.

If you’re considering a direct mail marketing campaign but are afraid you don’t have the resources to pull it off, don’t worry. East Side Printing Co. can help. We offer full service marketing, design, print and mail services from our Portland headquarters — get in touch with us for a free quote today!

[Photos via: Hyundai, Ticatoca, Dandad]

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