One of the more pathetically obvious marketing ploys used in direct mail surfaces from time to time and involves misleading potential customers into believing that the mailing piece has been sent to them by a friend, or colleague and is not just the usual junk mail.

To this end the white envelope is addressed by hand, and carries a postage stamp rather than just a franking, to make it look genuine. Inside is what is printed up and cut to look as if it is a page torn from a magazine – the give-away is the clean, wavy cut mark that is supposed to look like a tear, but really doesn’t. Scrawled on the page is a hand-written note, in the same hand as the addressing on the envelope, or it’s scrawled on a post-it note, and this also gives the false impression that it has come from a friend.

One recent example was a firm flogging an anti-wrinkle cream. The scrawled note, using the addressee’s initial letter of their first name, said:- “E . CALL FAST, IT WORKS! I ONLY PAID THE POSTAGE”.

Direct mail has a bad enough reputation as it is and silly tricks clearly designed to fool only the most gullible can only make things worse for all. Ask the British Direct Marketing Association. (wonder if the clever wrinkle cream marketeers are members?) .

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