To lay the groundwork for the U.S. Postal Service's first broadcast campaign promoting direct mail, Young & Rubicam turned to cultural anthropologist John Lowe.
Lowe moderated focus groups and visited homes to better understand how consumers and marketers feel about a medium that some find cold and impersonal. The result? A campaign that delivers a simple message--"Direct mail. It reaches people"--in a humorous way.
One TV spot from the New York shop (shown here) begins with a middle-aged man opening his front door to snow drifts as tall as he is. The wind whistles as he shovels a path to his mailbox. Once there, he pulls out a catalog touting a "snowblower blowout" sale and starts to laugh.
Other ads depict a burly man with a soft spot for crochet, a business based in a family garage and a father who learns the value of a spot removal coupon after his son flings carrots onto his tie.
The campaign, which is backed by print ads and (what else?) direct mail, breaks this week in Chicago and Cincinnati. It may expand to other markets in September.