Until last night, I firmly believed that direct mail advertising is dead — or at least, completely ineffective for the Millennial Generation (or Generation Y, or whatever else you want to call people who grew up with computers and mobile phones). After all, we live in the era of Groupon and Living Social, not in the stone age!
Not only would I automatically throw away any marketing pamphlets that I found in my mailbox, but I had also installed a nifty smartphone app, called PaperKarma. What PaperKarma does is allow you to single out junk mail that you want to stop receiving. All you need is take a photo of the junk mail in question and upload it to PaperKarma’s server — the rest is “magic” that PaperKarma’s staff does for you. The mere fact that I had already successfully used PaperKarma to unsubscribe from direct mail from RedPlum and ValPak should tell you how little attention I would pay to old-fashioned mail-in marketing… Until yesterday…
What made me think again about direct mail is what I saw in my mailbox when I got back from work last night.
Instead of the typical bland tabloid-style “newsletter” with coupons and deals or the photo-sized flyer with the latest house cleaning service offering, I saw an authentic 1980s diskette. “Wow! What is this? Is one of my geeky friends sending me an old copy of Karateka, as a joke?” I asked myself. I looked closer and saw the name of a company I did not recognize — CityStash. And then I realized what was going on — the company had decided to use one of those old-school 5-inch diskettes as the placeholder, with all the marketing copy printed on the diskette’s sleeve. How cool!!
This creative marketing gimmick brought nostalgic memories of an era when computers were still a novelty and a single 5-inch diskette contained the “whopping” 1.2 MB of data (enough to store several games on a single diskette)! But this “flyer” also achieved some much more tangible and commercial results. Because the diskette piqued my “geeky” side’s interest, it made me read the marketing copy on the sleeve. It prompted me (subconsciously, of course) to commit to memory CityStash, the name of the company behind this campaign.
24 hours later, I still think about this diskette. I can’t help admitting that the diskette flyer is definitely a memorable advertisement that I will recall if CityStash ever surveys me. Not to mention that I now know the brand of a self-storage service even though I don’t need one. Kudos to this young start-up’s marketing team!
Have you come across other exciting examples of “dinosaur era” advertising? Please share them here.