Sometimes we’re so busy thinking of what people will read, what images they’ll see, etc. that we forget some of the other senses and how they can be employed to get and keep attention with our marketing creative efforts.
So what else is there? — scratch ‘n’ sniff…? I don’t know about you, but I’ve rarely liked the scratch ‘n’ sniff. When it shows up in the mailbox it makes everything in the mailbox stink of the perfume they’re hawking with that approach. Heaven help us when they get really clever and make it a garlic smell thinking that this will seduce the recipient into getting their brand of frozen garlic bread… And the thing is, appreciation for scent is very personal.
For example, the Captain Morgan Rum scratch ‘n’ sniff I’ve attached here didn’t smell too bad… but that’s only because the smell of rum reminds me of those heady days on a trip to the Caribbean. This piece uses a scent which probably is in part manufactured but didn’t have to be altered much to make into a scratch ‘n’ sniff. And they’re tying the scent with taste, which is pretty clever.
Especially perfumes, vary widely in terms of perception, and most people either love it or hate it. With scent, that point of ‘too much’ happens much sooner than most people realize. I remember when Georgio was a big deal in the perfume world, and I did a lot of work in a Westwood office building, on an upper floor. I dreaded when some chi-chi Westwood babe would get on the elevator with me, and in mere seconds, my eyes would start watering and I’d gasp for breath. I learned in no time that if a Georgio-phile got on the elevator, I’d get off on the next floor to escape their perfume onslaught. peee-yeeeew! Why doesn’t a friend tell them they’re over the top?
I have always wondered what would be really a good use for scratch ‘n’ sniff … what could they do what would be appealing? Applie pie? Maybe chocolate? it’s hard to imagine them getting food scent so right that it would be truly appealing. I mean, they have to create the smell and then mix it with chemicals to get it to stick on the paper in teeny tiny globules that will snap open when the scratching starts. Years ago an hilarious, outspoken print saleswoman from George Rice Litho – Liz O’Keefe – told me that Playboy would sell a lot more issues if they had scratch ‘n’ sniff on their centerfolds. Banal! But, it still makes me laugh.
Where I was going with this was to bring up the OTHER sensory tool – the tactile. People who work in the web world who try to do something printed almost always miss out on how to use prospects’ fingertips to make something more appealing.
Take mail, for example: yes, you can use 7 point cover to print a postcard and have it ‘legal’ for mailing… but what you’re telling the recipient, via their fingertips, is that you’re cheap and unsatisfying because that’s how the stock (paper) feels. A nice oversized postcard deserves a good 100 lb. cover weight, just to give it the body it needs to make it through the mail and still feel good. Many catalogs find that they can cut back on the paper they are using, but only to a point. They take it too far, and response starts dropping and they think their catalog’s not working anymore. Actually they started sending their customers the message that they are not the same quality as they were before.
When you’re trying to get people to buy, essentially sight-unseen, there is a lot to be said for setting the stage nicely. if your budget can’t handle better paper (within reason) it’s time to look at your mailing list and get some good list hygiene, trim out all the dupes and other crap, and also trim out some of the non-responders. You can cut a mailing down to something that will really work and increase your ROI. Is that too much to shoot for?
And speaking of mail… there aren’t a lot of cool, tactile direct mail packages out there anymore. You can make them interesting through using a different type of, and weight, paper here and there throughout the package. You can do in-line embossing. check out what Habitat for Humanity did on this package… there’s a little metal thing that is spot-glued at the top of the letter. I cannot even remember what it’s for, some kind of token, but it got my attention.
You can also make it even sexier by developing some interesting folds. Hellooo? Does ANY designer out there realize that you can do more with paper than fold it in half or exact thirds??? I have been bored to tears with what the design community has been coming up with. I learned from a real master — Richard Potter — how much fun it is to fold paper in new ways, but still keep it press-and-bindery friendly. (He told me that many years ago, someone gave him an origami set as a gift, to poke fun at his love of folding paper in new and different ways.) When I hear that someone designed something that had to be hand folded – like, 100,000 of them — it makes me sick that the client said yes to that, and also that they didn’t know to hire a designer with a brain attached to their wrist.
A colleague of mine ordered brochures from Pelican Print, who are very nice folks. But their 80 lb. text weight that they said they were using to print her brochures is either NOT really 80 lb., or it’s the cheesiest, cheapest 80 lb. imaginable. You expect a brochure on 80 lb. text to have some body, a nice feel – but hers are flimsy. Not a good place for the supplier to skimp… I’m not sure she’ll ever trust them to print her stuff again.
Meanwhile, as self-serving as this must appear, my new business cards finally came in from 123print.com, and they are simply awesome. And half of what makes them so great is how they feel. I spent a few extra bucks to have them die-cut with rounded corners, adding the the pleasure of touching and holding the cards. And I went ‘top dollar’ for the stock, with glossy on the front, and then a matte on the back so that people can use the back of the card to write notes (see the image attached: I will leave no surface ‘virgin’ if I can accomplish something by using it.)
Well, I am so tickled by these cards!! They feel like something out of a nice board game or a brand new deck of cards… and I can’t wait to start handing them out to prospective clients and colleagues. Especially since between April 1st, when we sold my firm, and now, I’ve been using those slightly cheesy micro-perfed desktop printed biz cards that are ‘make do’ but i can’t believe that anyone would actually think they are good enough to pass out except ‘in a pinch’.
Anyway, this is a call for those of you who still get mail, to be on the lookout for some junk mail that’s really interesting from a touch and feel standpoint. Then close your eyes, and move it around in your hands, feeling the textures and weight… the tactile choreography. Enjoy.