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Creative effectiveness in door drop - examples from 2019


Written by Neal Dodd, member of the Print Council and Door Drop hub and director at The Letterbox Consultancy Ltd.

When the subject of good quality door drop creative comes up for discussion, invariably it will lead to thoughts about samples, die cut leaflets, augmented reality and other quirky approaches that stand out as different from the rest.

But being different is rarely the task set for the designer and the copywriter.

Their task is primarily to create an item that will deliver on the campaign aim and objectives, and sometimes that will mean creative that could be described as relatively bland, formal and uninteresting.

Take this piece from Consumer Refund Service Ltd – a company seeking to help consumers with their mis-sold PPI claims.

The item is a letter, application form and freepost envelope inside a sealed brown envelope. Fairly standard in terms of items that fall onto your doormat – similar envelopes to those that your tax bill will arrive in, for example.

The envelope includes the company name along with the words ‘FCA Deadline Information and Marketing Communication Enclosed’. The window of the envelope shows a reference number and the words ‘Notification of Potential Refund £3,175’.

In my opinion, the type of item gives off an air of authority and legitimacy, and along with the financial value and reference number seen through the envelope window is likely to grab people’s attention and encourage them to open up the envelope to read more.

There is of course a fine line between acting as a trigger to open the item and being misleading, and it would be up for debate as to which side of the line this item falls.

Once open, the letter is short and to the point, offering consumers a range of options to apply – in the freepost envelope provided, online or over the phone.

Much of the work across the door drop industry forms part of integrated campaigns and the items distributed are helping to reinforce brand messaging as well as seeking a direct response.

However in this instance, I don’t believe that is the case. They’re not my client and so I can’t comment on the company strategy or how well the item worked, but my feeling is that this is a piece designed purely and simply to gain response, and the creative used for that purpose is entirely appropriate. I would predict it performed well in delivering on that objective.

The DMA recently held it’s annual awards evening and as ever, door drops is a category that provokes much debate.

Who is to say that straightforward, standard creative and copy that has been working for many years is not worthy of recognition? Many of the biggest users of the channel wouldn’t claim to create items that are unique or different, but they would be quick to tell you how well their creative works for them.

If items like these have indeed worked well then I believe they should be celebrated as much for their creativity as we celebrate items that are out of the ordinary.

And ultimately, if the item produces a great response, haven’t the creatives done their job?

Hear more from the DMA

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