Rubber Chicken in Your Mailbox?

by | Apr 25, 2022 | good business, print

The Power of Effectively Using Direct Mail

You walk outside to check the mail. Inside of a large package is a rubber chicken. There’s an illustrated card too. Turns out, the chicken’s name is Cooper and he’s outgrown his home. He needs to find a new chicken coop. You smile to yourself as you flip the card over to discover the main message: “If your home is feeling more crowded than comfortable, we can help.”

Front of Cooper postcard

This gag was an advertisement from a Realtor! You’ve just been junk-mailed. Spammed! In short, you were the target of an extremely creative direct mail campaign. Like most junk mail, you didn’t ask for this interruption into your daily life.

But you’re not annoyed. In fact, it made you smile and brightened your day. You might even tell a friend about it or share the experience on social media. That’s exactly what Tim and Terry Haas (creators of Cooper) wanted their clients to feel when they sent their first direct mail campaign in 2018.

So how do you feel about junk mail?

Ambivalent? Aggravated? Amused?

Personally, I love junk mail. I’m always curious to see the creative (or not) marketing campaigns that arrive at my door. Behind each floppy postcard or “official” looking envelope is a team of people who have strategized, planned, and designed in an effort to get your attention. I note the physical size, typography, colors, and style. Is it in an envelope? Do I want to read it? Does it have a human touch? Do I want to read it even if I know I’m not interested in the product or service? Does it communicate clearly?

Follow-up Cooper postcard

Direct mail is a fantastic challenge from a designer’s point of view. It’s like a puzzle. Be it a postcard, package, or a chicken, it must cut through the clutter, communicate a simple message, and avoid (at all costs) being “skippable”.

Speaking of cost, it can be easy to dismiss direct mail as an effective marketing tool. And yeah, it can get expensive. The fees for printing and postage can add up. But with some serious creativity, you can stand out from the competition and stay in front of your best customers and clients. And that’s what has motivated Tim and Terry to keep going with their wacky campaigns. They believe in the power of direct mail and have come up with some insanely fun promotions over the years. 

“OUT OF THE BOX was the goal to our marketing strategy. We wanted to stand out from our competition, remind our clients to think of us first for all their real estate needs and have fun with what is usually a stressful subject.”

Tim Haas
Holiday socks promotion

The rubber chicken was a hit. People were surprised and delighted. They snapped photos of Cooper doing all sorts of things: going camping, enjoying family pizza night, living life as a dog toy, relaxing at the pool, and even riding a roller coaster at Disney. 

Terry and Tim were hooked. The follow-up “Cooper finds his forever coop” campaign came a few months later and included a coffee mug to celebrate Cooper’s new home.  Admittedly, it was tough to top a rubber chicken, but Terry and Tim were committed.

They’ve sent out Christmas socks, temporary tattoo sleeves, and whoopie cushions. They even mailed out branded tape measures because “when it comes to your house, size matters!” 

Most recently, they mailed clients a lottery ticket and a mailer as a reminder: “Don’t gamble on the wrong real estate team!” 

Bottom line: You Must Stand Out!

You must stand out and stay in touch! Businesses know how important it is to nurture those client and customer relationships. You can do that through email campaigns and client thank-you gifts. But there’s a real wow factor in sending physical mail to past clients and prospective buyers. It’s unexpected and a pleasant surprise.

So if you’re looking for a unique way to keep your business top of mind, don’t rule out a creative, out-of-the-box direct mail campaign. You might get people talking. If you go full chicken, they won’t soon forget it.

Have a great week,