's Campaign Casts Spell Over Washington, Washington, a fee-based legislation-tracking subscription service, said this week that an innovative direct mail campaign it began in the spring is showing impressive results.

The campaign centers on a box that contains a voodoo doll — complete with pins to disrupt a quorum and mojo powder to strengthen spells and hexes.

Written on the cover of the box is a call-to-action that says, “ has everything you need to track legislation.” When the box is opened, on the inside cover, above the voodoo doll, are the words “Now here's something to help influence it.” Alongside the doll are incantations written inside the box, such as “Ways and Means. House Rules, too. Heed my wishes or I'll voodoo you,” and “Snow and sleet. Ice and rain. Pass this bill or feel some pain.”

The voodoo doll is also featured in a magazine ad in Roll Call, a biweekly newspaper distributed on Capitol Hill, and also in The Hill, its weekly sister publication.

The direct mail box, which has been sent to hundreds of political lobbyists, legislative liaisons, government affairs professionals, lawyers and corporate policy analysts in the Washington area, is designed to promote the benefits of GalleryWatch's legislative tracking service when it comes to government information on the Web.

The boxes were first sent out May 31, and are mailed to new prospects every two weeks. GalleryWatch is planning to send out 2,000 boxes.

The company started out as a state-level tracking service in Texas more than four years ago, but opened its Washington office and began offering federal information to members in January. The service allows members to easily search for legislative information on the Web that has been consolidated. In addition, members can receive real-time legislative updates via e-mail on their PCs, pagers, cell phones and personal communication devices.

When GalleryWatch opened in Washington, it received a lot of attention from paid ads in local newspapers, newspaper articles and referrals. But it soon realized that in order to get new clients, it needed to launch a creative direct mail piece “that would really catch people's attention, especially since we were a new company to Washington,” said Rusty Roddy, director of marketing at GalleryWatch.

The result was the direct mail box, which was created by GalleryWatch and Eisner Communications, Baltimore, a full-service communications agency. Now in its 60th year, the firm specializes in the creation and promotion of brand identity through integrated communications. Eisner's clients include the Maryland state lottery, The Nature Conservancy and Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Stephen Etzine, executive vice president and creative director at Eisner, agreed with Roddy. “We needed to come up with a high-impact piece that would cut through the clutter and gain some immediate reaction for”

The box is also designed to predispose legislative authorities to call GalleryWatch and ultimately set up a meeting to learn about the company and sign up for the service.

“Our service is somewhat complex,” said Roddy. “In order for prospects to see what we've got, it's important to get in front of them and show them how it works.”

The campaign is bringing people to the site and to GalleryWatch's offices. There is a “15 [percent] to 20 percent success rate as far as setting up appointments, but the numbers will be higher when the campaign is complete,” Roddy said.

He also said the campaign has received numerous accolades. However, he said it's too early to tell the success of the program, “which will come in the form of new clients.”

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