The Golden Mailbox Award

Years ago, when I worked in direct response advertising (yes, we were the initiators of personalized junk mail), there were rules for effectiveness in writing letters. You must have a “Johnson box” — an outlined box of copy in the center of the letter. You must have a P.S. — people who wouldn’t read your letter copy would go directly to the P.S. You must keep the letter to one page. Et cetera.

But my agency decided that we wouldn’t follow the rules. We developed crazy boxes that looked like cereal boxes with prizes inside. We sent an entire place setting for a food company to prospects. We developed a “National Enquirer” type of publication for a state lottery — full color, with the recent lottery winner’s photo on the front and crazy, made up stories throughout the rest of the publication.

As a result of our efforts, at the annual Direct Marketing Association awards, we received the industry honor of the Golden Mailbox Award. The coveted award was for creativity and impact, both of which our campaign excelled.

Twenty-plus years later, I still firmly believe in that philosophy. Don’t follow the rules. For your business, don’t do what your competitors are doing. Do something different. Partner with a different organization or organizations to double, or triple, your prospects. Change up your advertising venues, think beyond the “norm”.

Be a little crazy and make people smile.  I guarantee that you will be remembered.

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