Production House Looks to Be 'First' With Mail Campaign

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Great Lakes Integrated is using images of conception and birth in a mail campaign aimed at rebranding the company as a printer "reborn" into new life as a full-service digital production and fulfillment provider.

Dubbed "First," the campaign's goal is to show how Great Lakes Integrated has been transformed from its old brand, Great Lakes Lithograph Co., which had been in place since the company's founding in 1931. Great Lakes, Cleveland, has been owned and operated by the same family for four generations, but today its services go well beyond printing, Great Lakes marketing director Beth Bemer said.

"When a client comes to us, we handle the marketing output from start to finish," Bemer said. "We don't just do design."

The company began going digital in the 1980s and now does prepress and fulfillment work in-house in addition to printing, she said. It went fully digital in the past two years, and its new division, AKSESS, offers an online marketing management tool.

Great Lakes' rebranding officially began in May with press releases and the unveiling of its new Web site. It initially focused its targeted marketing on its existing clientele and core customers.

In early July, the company began its first targeted effort to market the new brand to prospects as well as clients. The "First" mail campaign has six stages and is being mailed to about 5,000 people nationwide. Targets include vice president-level executives in marketing departments of retailers as well as decision makers at marketing agencies.

The first mailer bears the image of sperm fertilizing an egg to produce a zygote. This startling image is accompanied by intentionally mysterious text that doesn't mention Great Lakes' name. The mailer bears the headline "First" and urges recipients to "start making plans now" because "a new era of print and digital inventory management will be born."

The second piece dropped the week after the first one. It depicts a crying infant -- held by a pair of hands wearing surgical gloves to give the impression that it was just born -- and provides information about Great Lakes.

Great Lakes gave the mailers a metallic sheen using a process developed by MetalFX in the United Kingdom, Bemer said. The process lets printers design with up to 615 metallic colors using a standard four-color process combined with a silver metallic ink as a base. Future mailings in the campaign also will feature this process.

The company plans to drop the third piece this month featuring an image of runners in a race. For the final three mailings, the company will drop one in each of the following three months. The remaining mailers will continue to focus on the concept and importance of "being first," Bemer said.

Beyond spreading the word about the new brand, Great Lakes hopes the mail campaign boosts traffic to its Web site and increases calls to its sales staff. Great Lakes is watching how prospects and clients react to the campaign and whether a boost in inbound contacts occurs, Bemer said.


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