Can You Find the Seven Show Stoppers on This Mailer?

By | March 30, 2015

One of the webinars that sticks with me, even a year or more later, is one on direct mail success stories from direct mail guru Gary Hennerberg. In it, he talked about show stoppers, or creative elements on the mailer that get people to stop and look. Even if it’s just for a fraction of a second, each show stopper buys time for them to absorb the message.

Hennerberg says he likes to put no less than seven show stoppers on every envelope. The more show stoppers, the more time he buys for his clients.

In today’s mail, I got a mailer that looked very much like the ones Hennerberg discussed in the webinar. I wonder if this one is his handiwork. So I counted them. One, two, three, four, five, six . . . seven.

Here is a picture of the mailer. Can you find all seven show stoppers? In looking for them, do you get any new ideas that you can bring to your own direct mail clients?

IMG_2180-2How many show stoppers do you see?

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6 thoughts on “Can You Find the Seven Show Stoppers on This Mailer?

  1. Fadel F Iskander

    I don’t know about you. However, if I was near the trash can when one of those hard to open “Standard Mail” pieces come in, that is exactly where it goes. I don’t think I would bother to open it. For me, nothing on (or in) that envelope will buy any time. I am eager to know 1 or 2 show-stopper items that will buy you time, Heidi.

  2. Heidi Tolliver-Walker

    I’m not the direct mail expert, so I can’t comment on the effectiveness of show stoppers myself. Like you, when I see something like this come in, it gets pitched immediately because I recognize it for what it is. But like anything else, it’s effective for the target audience . . . and it’s not me! Gary Hennerberg has been doing this a long time, and the response rates his campaigns get are very high. Clearly, what he’s doing is working for the vertical markets and the target audiences his clients are going after.

    1. Michelle O'Donnell

      1. I see your name on the “official” form inside (oh this must be really important)
      2. I see the window so THAT I can see the really important document inside
      3. I see Deliver Only To — so again, this must be really important
      4. Proof of Eligibility (oh this must be really important)
      5. The size of the envelope instead of regular letter size
      6. MAYBE — because there is no return address????
      Did I get 1-5 correct? I don’t see 6 and 7
      Tell me tell me — the suspense is killing me, I’ve searched high and low!!!

    2. Frank McPherson

      Heidi, as you know I look for a “call to action” or a “past history” field on envelopes……1 excellent “Show Stopper” is better than 7 run of the mill ones. I remember talking about this 15 years ago. The question I have “have we not improved at attracting people to direct mail”

  3. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    @Frank, It all depends on the response rates. If the response and conversion rate to this campaign is good, then the answer is yes! I guess it all depends on the target audience. For some audiences, I would think this would be completely ineffective. But for others, it might be very effective. Depends on whom they are trying to attract, yes?

    @Michelle, the state emblem showing through the envelope (which varies based on the state in which the recipient lives) and, I believe, the official looking flag in the upper righthand corner. I’m not a postal expert, but I don’t recall that on most mailers. I’m assuming that’s preprinted to make it look more official. But someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    1. Michelle O'Donnell

      Hi Heidi — Thanks for answering so quick 😉 I wondered about that flag too- should have mentioned it. Nice article, thanks.

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