Blog Post – Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Posted by Denny Hatch
About Postcards… and Introducing
Truly Amazing New Print Technology!
We received the above 6"x9" postcard from Total Wine—our mega wine & booze emporium across the bridge in New Jersey. It took me a minute to figure the thing out.
Then I realized the three bottles of wine at top left were Peggy’s and my regular purchases.
Detail at right: Peggy’s beloved Anakena ($9.99). In the middle is the red Prototype Zinfandel ($8.99) that I grabbed once because of the cool racing car on the label. We liked it and buy it regularly when we have red meat and guests. The third bottle at left we tried and preferred the racing car brand.
In 60 years of marketing, this is the some of the most sophisticated photographic and data-management technology I have ever seen—a one-off photo of 3 wines on a color postcard personalized for me!
This means if the promotional postcard went to 100,000 customers, every postcard had a unique four-color photograph of 3 purchases by the individual buyer. Ergo, 100,000 different postcards.
Consider the headline: If You Like These…
You’ll Love These…
No… I emphatically won’t “love these”!
For starters Total Wine is comparing the three wines we bought (at top left) to a vodka, a tequila and a wine (at the bottom). This ain’t apples to apples.
Yeah, I regularly buy upmarket vodka from Total Wine—French Grey Goose ($39.09). I’ve never heard of the vodka they are touting—STARR BLU ($16.99). Sure, as a pensioner I would be interested in finding a down-market (cheaper) vodka akin to Grey Goose in terms of taste and kick. But Total Wine provides no copy… no testimonial… no description of STARR BLU. C’mon Total Wine guys & dolls, convince me to try STARR BLU. I’m game.
Alas, on a postcard, there is no room for lengthy product information or convincing.
The bottle in the middle is El Padrino Tequila ($28.99). We have never bought or served tequila in our lives—not at home… not in a bar or restaurant, not on one of our Viking cruises. (One of the reasons we like Viking is “No Children, No Casino, No Umbrella Drinks.”)
Nowhere on the front or back of this postcard is there any descriptive copy on the contents of the nine bottles shown.
The Reverse Side of the Total Wine Postcard
The offer on the coupon above
$15 OFF EVERY $100 Wine
Save $15 on EVERY $100 of 759ml
and 1.5L Winery Direct* Wines.
The 15% saving applies to “Winery Direct Wines.” So why are they showing me photos of Vodka and Tequila?
I sure as hell am not going to try a strange vodka based only on a photo of the bottle with no copy, no pedigree, no reviews, no testimonials, no huge price discount.
Simply using eye-popping, razzle-dazzle technology and then showing me three totally unfamiliar bottles will NOT change my behavior.
Here's the Postcard I would Have Sent.
All About Total Wine & More.
It's Huge. From the Website...
Total Wine & More is America's Wine Superstore® — the country‘s largest independent retailer of fine wine. We started in 1991 when brothers David and Robert Trone opened a small store in Delaware. Today, we operate 221 superstores across 27 states and continue to grow. . . Our typical store carries more than 8,000 different wines from every wine-producing region in the world. The typical Total Wine & More also carries more than 2,500 beers, from America‘s most popular brands to hard-to-find microbrews and imports, and more than 3,000 different spirits in every style and price range.
It's our Team Members who make the Total Wine & More shopping experience so special. Total Wine & More employs more than 4,000 dedicated men and women, including 600 wine service team members and 50 of our most knowledgeable wine experts, the Total Wine Professionals. All of our wine team members participate in extensive training programs, weekly team wine tastings and monthly wine-producer seminars. Many travel to winemaking regions to meet our producers and learn about their wines firsthand. —TW&M Website Copy
Takeaways to Consider
• The two-sided postcard is a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am announcement of an immediately obvious product or service and a super simple offer that requires an instant yes/no decision.
• In the 30 years I ran the WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service (and having pawed over hundreds of thousands of mailings) I can recall only one product that used a double postcard for the launch announcement: VERMONT magazine in the fall of 1989.
The title was obvious. It went only to Vermont residents and businesses (and maybe—if the list was available—former Vermonters that had moved out-of-state).
Launch offer on the postcard: Send for the premier issue Free. (A collector's copy!) Send no money now. No risk. No obligation. Half-price Introductory Offer. If after seeing the first issue you decide VERMONT is not for you, simply write “cancel” on the bill and return it in the postage paid envelope. You owe nothing. Keep the first issue as a free gift.
• Instant recognition. VERMONT for Vermonters. Send no money now. Detach the reply card and drop it in the mail. Quick. Easy peasy.
• Postcards are a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sales opportunity.
• “Of all practical advertising media, only direct mail offers a sufficiently large canvas for telling a complete story.” —Bill Jayme
• The classic direct mail package includes an intriguing Outside Envelope [Bill Jayme called the OSE "The hotpants on the hooker"], Letter, Circular or Brochure, Order Form and business reply envelope plus such extra goodies as little gifts freemiums) that turn it into a lumpy, attention-getter that stands out from the rest of the mail.
• Compare this to the Total Wine Offer. "If you like these.... You'll Love These."
• IMO: Here's a case of a marketing guy at Total Wine— dazzled by the combination of personal data with personal photography of some hotshot young techie—who assumed the wines pictured would sell themselves.
• "Successful Direct Marketing/Direct Mail copy is one writer whispering into the ear of one reader and quietly bringing him/her into your fold." —Harry Walsh
Word count: 1036
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