So when is an Xpress Post not expressly an Xpress Post?

Today, I received the following envelope (front,back) from Reader’s Digest. I actually received the same mailing last year, but never found the time to blog about it. At first blush, it looks like I’ve received an XpressPost, the kind that Canada Post offers. There’s a big green sticker that makes it look like the envelope passed through a special dispatch office. The Package says “Express Day Timed Delivery�. The envelope offers instructions for CPC, presumably Canada Post Corporation. . The back of the package includes information about mailing restrictions, CPC indicia, addressing, and liability. The liability information refers to section 48 and 49 of the Canada post Corporation Act. The sender is the finance director of Reader’s Digest. An unsuspecting recipient might think that Reader’s Digest had couriered them some sort of financial notice.

My father worked for Canada Post for his entire career. My mother’s been there for more than a decade. If there’s one thing I know, it’s Canada Post. But this isn’t an Canada XpressPost. The top right-hand corner of the mailing reveals that this is Addressed AdMail. That’s right, junk mail addressed to me. All the blurbs about CPC are meant as red herrings. Reader’s Digest is merely printing out Canada Post’s postal guide. The green sticker is just a sticker. All mail is subject to sections 48 and 49 – and all the other sections – of the Canada Post Corporation Act; it’s an offence to interfere with the mail.

Inside, the first thing the reader finds is a blue form marked “STATEMENT�. But a closer look reveals that the statement and enclosed materials -– including a special hologram decoder card –- comprise a mailing for a Reader’s Digest contest.

The first time I received this mailing, I only opened the envelope because I was in awe of the direct mail campaign. (I opened it today so that I could scan the contents for my blog.) This must be one of the most expensive direct mail pieces I’ve ever received. I just had to know what Reader’s Digest thought I’d want from them. But, unfortunately for Reader’s Digest, their money is wasted. I’m not their target market. Their direct mail list is obviously dirty. They need to do some serious database scrubbing, especially given that this is the second time I’ve received the package.

I haven’t heard about this campaign from anyone else, but I imagine it’s a large-scale effort. Reader’s Digest is a master of direct mail. I once attended a lecture where the president of Reader’s Digest Canada said that the company is the the business of direct mail lists, not magazines.

(Update: actually, I wrote about this direct mail and forgot about it.)

Direct mail posts

Email marketing tips

(c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.