Or am I just getting dafter?

On any given week I get about 2 pieces of mail that are even worth opening. The rest is coupons, sales flyers, postcards about new condo developments, car insurance companies trying to win me over, an IMPORTANT NOTICE that my subscription to SELF Magazine expired 2 years ago, or credit card offers.

My mail checking routine usually goes like this:

  1. Open my overflowing mailbox in apartment lobby.
  2. Watch as ridiculous amounts of paper fall to the ground.
  3. On bended knees, sort through the garbage, recycling all sales flyers, catalogs, and other junk.
  4. Pick out anything that looks like a credit card offer so I can be sure and shred it.
  5. Squeal with glee at the sight of any hand written letter from a friend!
  6. Take credit card offers and other non-junk mail (hopefully letters from friends) upstairs.
  7. Shred credit card offers.
  8. Open and read everything else.

This week I found a gray envelope in my mail that I was unable to identify. It didn’t have a window or a return address from Delaware, which usually signifies a credit card offer. The envelope was of unusual size and was a nicer stock of paper than your typical piece of junk mail. I knew it wasn’t from anyone I knew, but was curious all the same, so I opened it. Inside, I found a three page (front and back) letter from a credit card company, printed on gray paper. It also included a special invitation for me to fill out—I’d been pre-approved for a balance transfer special and a $25,000 credit limit on a fancy new credit card! YIPPEE!

There are several things that annoy me about this. 1) the two colors used on the letter were gray and orange (Verity colors). 2) It was 3 pages long.(total waste of paper) 3) They tricked me into opening the offer!

As a marketer, I think there should be a rule that you have to label the outside of any envelope with its contents. Seriously. I don’t believe in tricking people to open their mail. Sure, we all do things to catch the eye or make our mail look more enticing to open, but wouldn’t it be better if everyone could decide whether or not they wanted to open your direct mail piece based on what’s inside and how relevant it is to them?


No biography available for this author.

2 Responses

  1. Ron Bensley, Jr. says:

    Some junk-mail envelopes are designed to resemble official government notices are particularly annoying. They even have a return address like “Bureau of Such-and-Such” and resemble property-tax notices or IRS envelopes.

  2. Christopher says:

    Great post.

    I got one yesterday from a company I never heard of…BUT I opened it because the envelope had “Statement of Benefits” on it like an insurance claim. It was a solicitation for an investing magazine. Aargh!

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