When Ken Griffey Jr. celebrated his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July, he joined major league greats like Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente, Barry Bonds, and Mickey Mantle.
What did Ken Griffey Jr. have in common with the Hall of Famers who came before him? The answer is simple. He made big things happen. The Mariners ball club had struggled with a bad losing streak since the late 70s and were rumored to be moving from Seattle for some time when Griffey came onto the scene. The stakes were higher than ever when the team achieved an incredible comeback during the 1995 American League Division Series against the New York Yankees. Game five ended with a double by Edgar Martinez that sent Griffey racing home to win the series.
That incredible run went down in history as “the moment that saved baseball in Seattle,” as the city rallied behind the lefty and his team. The support and excitement for baseball grew with Griffey’s fame, and the Washington State Legislature decided to fund the brand new Safeco Field.
A Swing and a Miss?
If you’re looking for die-hard fans like the ones who came out of the woodwork in Seattle after that historic run, being average is simply not enough. Do you think Hall of Famers are remembered for being like every other player in the league? Absolutely not. People rally behind what wows them.
Need inspiration? Here are a few cases of companies going above and beyond to make their direct mail campaign stand out like Griffey and the Mariners. Any business owner can mimic these ideas (even if on a smaller scale) to get the attention of prospects and win referrals from existing customers like a pro.
The Direct Mail Hall of Famers
Amnesty International used chopsticks for an entertaining twist on something simple. To get people excited about justice for human rights violations in China, they sent out a pretty creative piece of mail — a pair of chopsticks. The chopsticks turned out to be pencils, wrapped in paper casings with written instructions: “1. Tuck under the thumb and hold tightly. 2. Write the Chinese government to help end torture. 3. Don’t let human rights by the Chinese government give China a bad name. 4. Take further action at amnestyinternational.org/china.”
Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse sprayed catnip concentrate on its mailer to attract resident’s kitties to their mail piece. And — you guessed it — pure hilarity ensued. Cats went wild for their flyer, encouraging curious humans to investigate the piece of paper. Talk about getting creative! You don’t have to have concentrated catnip to get the attention of your prospects, but you absolutely MUST get creative if you want your direct mail to stand out from the rest. Find your edge and run with it. The more outrageous, the better.
Eagil employed a seriously surprising tactic when launching their incredible direct mail campaign. People on their list were shocked to find a stack of 100 $1 bills inside a small box sent by the financial company, promising to earn them more “tax-free dollars.” The gesture was big and unexpected, leaving a lasting impact on everyone who received it. You can wow people with mail by using the element of surprise. Think. What is the thing they’ll be most excited to receive in the mail (you don’t have to send money) that would also communicate your message?
The World Wildlife Fund used beautiful design and clear, engaging copy to communicate their message effectively. In order to get people more excited about an hour of energy-saving, they sent out candles, encouraging people to turn off their lights and observe the hour without energy. Sometimes the copy is less important than the design. In this case, the candle’s package was a building that darkened as you removed the candle, which was enough to effectively communicate what The WWF wanted people to do.