Yesterday, my husband received an envelope that looked very similar to what you would receive from a Canada Post “XPress Post” courier. The envelope had instructions for CPC — presumably Canada Post Corporation — to deliver the package in accordance with certain regulations, much like the disclaimers you see on the back of an XPress Post package. The mailing had stickers that look much like those Canada Post uses for processing and cancellation. And the return address was for the finance director of Canada Post.

My husband and I realized pretty quickly that the envelope likely contained a sales pitch for Reader’s Digest. But the mailing was so interesting that I couldn’t help opening it. Inside, I found a key, a long direct mail letter, and several “sample” cheques. Direct mail copywriters have long known that clever envelopes marked “urgent” can catch the attention of a potential customer. Likewise, a key looks interesting and most people can’t bear to throw it out without reading to find out why they received it. But this Reader’s Digest mailing was one of the most sophisticated direct mail packages I’ve ever received. They went to a lot of trouble and expense to mimic an XPress Post envelope. Has anyone else seen this piece?

Update: The same Vancouver direct mail piece has resurfarced.

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(c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant.