Letter: Multiple Stamps on Mailers Make Them Look More Valuable

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In his letter June 20, Rich Reinhart gave Max Hart's reason for the Disabled American Veterans using multiple stamps on its reply envelope as, "we want to look like we really need the contribution."

Maybe so, but I believe the real reason was this: A postage stamp has a value. If a mailer puts multiple stamps on the reply envelope, it looks more valuable than a single stamp; they can't be peeled off, people can't bear to throw them away, and so they order or contribute to your cause.

My father, Henry Cowen, and I have used this technique of a stamped reply a few times over the past 30 years for various magazines, including Newsweek, Psychology Today and one or two others. Time magazine tried it, too, but didn't do it correctly. Time put a single stamp on the order card instead of the reply envelope so that it could show through a window on the outer envelope. Good idea. But because the stamp was only partially glued down, people could peel it off and use it anywhere - and not necessarily to order Time.

And by the way, I have samples in my files of my father using multiple stamps for Look magazine back in the 1950s, so there ain't nuthin' new under the sun. And if I remember correctly, he got the idea from DAV. Keep in mind, if you try it, we found that it worked only on best customers (repeat renewals or high-dollar-amount contributors).

David J. Cowen, The Cowen Group Inc., Laurel Hollow, NY


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