Mailer Touts Value of a 'Nice Package'

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A packaging outfit is trying to raise eyebrows -- and response -- to promotional efforts for its 3-year-old fulfillment service by incorporating double entendres into an ongoing direct mail effort.


On the cover of Allied Fulfillment Services' six-page brochure mailer, a well-muscled, seemingly naked male is pictured holding a direct mail package over his groin area. The brochure carries the motto of the campaign in block letters beneath the picture: "Nice Package."


Inside the brochure, risqué themes continue with large-print headlines bearing the words "Size Matters," "Creating Package Envy" and "A Little Experience Under Our Belt."


Executives at Allied acknowledged that the brochure aims to grab attention and stand out amid the promotions of the company's older, more established competitors.


"I felt it was a boring subject," said Tammy Robbins, vice president of administration for Allied Fulfillment Services, Brockton, MA. "My first thought was, 'Get them to read it.'"


The "Nice Package" slogan was Robbins' brainchild. Robbins said she was inspired by the bushels of direct mailers that feature female models and thought it might be fun to circulate a mailer featuring a hunky male.


So far, the fulfillment firm has dropped 250 since the brochure debuted last spring. The company developed its prospect list from a purchased mailing list as well as from contacts obtained at a promotions-and-incentives trade conference earlier in the year.


Allied performed no formal testing of the brochure, though it gained notoriety when it was distributed from the company's booth during the conference. The company hopes the mailer generates enough buzz to spread awareness of Allied via word-of-mouth.


The mailer was instrumental in landing two accounts that brought in business amounting in the seven-figure range, Robbins said. She declined to reveal further details.


Robbins suggested the "Nice Package" slogan to the company's design agency, Blue Wave, Cambridge, MA, which implemented the mailer. The designers liked the slogan so much they made it the centerpiece of the brochure.


"I thought female execs might say, 'Hey now, I like that,'" Robbins said.


Allied Fulfillment Services is an offshoot of Allied Industries, an established packaging company. The move into fulfillment required the firm to adopt a smarter, slicker image to appeal to savvy marketing types, Robbins said.


The brochure features five pictured examples of custom packages produced by Allied Fulfillment Services. The back page includes fax and phone numbers as well as a Web site for prospects to contact a company sales representative for more information.


So far, the brochure has caused little consternation among prospective clients, Robbins said. She claimed that only one prospect told sales representatives that she was taken aback by the sexual imagery, but later admitted she liked the idea.


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