Boston Direct Marketer Revamps Appeal After Attacks

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The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington prompted WBUR, an NPR radio news station owned by Boston University, to rewrite a direct mail campaign that had been scheduled to mail this week.


The mailer, by direct marketing agency DMW Worldwide, Braintree, MA, was intended to solicit donations from its house file of 50,000 active-donor listeners of public radio in Boston, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.


"We got lucky," said Tom Hurley, president and managing director of the nonprofit group at DMW. "None of the final lasering was performed, so the letter simply needs to be rewritten. So, the additional cost of this very special mailer will be minimal."


Lasering refers to the laser printing process for the four-piece mailer in a No. 10 envelope, accompanied by a reply envelope and slip.


The appeal asked listeners of WBUR to support the news station. It talked about the station's long radio stories and issues like global warming and the federal budget surplus. Now, with the events of Terror Tuesday, the message is being changed for a planned drop in the week of Sept. 24.


"We're working at trying to communicate with donors our overwhelming feelings that they also must be having and to tell them as broadcast journalists, WBUR will do everything it can to bring the news and perspective from their Boston offices," Hurley said.


"There's a Boston connection to this whole thing," he said, referring to the fact that the two hijacked airliners that crashed into the World Trade Center originated from Boston's Logan Airport.


Copy on the mailer is not final yet, but the emphasis is on conveying the sorrow and the mood of the moment.


"What we're basically going to do," Hurley said, "is communicate the heartfelt human emotion that all of us as Bostonians feel, but also acknowledge the responsibility that the station's staff feel as broadcast journalists."


This is DMW's first assignment for WBUR after winning the account.


It is still too early to gauge if the attack on American soil will snowball into a crisis for other DMW clients.


"That might be next week's story," Hurley said. "The vast majority of calls from clients that came in were whether we were OK or not. Many of us were traveling at the time [Tuesday morning], including me. I was flying from Providence [RI] to Baltimore. We were going over New York at the time of the attack."


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