Military mail hits the target with creative, but misses the mark in data

Every once in a while, my neighbors will stop me during my dog walk to show me some interesting piece of mail they’ve received. This is, to my way of thinking, a bonus for living in an old, Leave it to Beaver-style neighborhood. And a piece that my neighbor Jerry showed me recently really got my attention. As in, “Tennnn — HUT!” That’s right, it’s for the US Army.

The piece itself appears to be an envelope package, although it was formatted wisely to print in one piece and covert – saving time and money.

But, I seem to recall that there were laws about sending unsolicited mail to young kids — and the recipient of this piece is 13 years old. I don’t know about you, but it really bugs me to think that the Army hired an agency so inept that its database work couldn’t sort out the kids under 16 — your tax dollars at work.

The mail piece has some good ideas that show knowledge of the teen market – the mail side announces the offer and teases with “How to take on the world,” which is what most teenagers feel like doing most days of their overactive, hormone-fueled lives. The opposite side has a map on it with a challenge to match coordinates to their corresponding pinpoints. This is a pretty good concept insofar as they are targeting kids who like to solve problems.

The approach of this mailing is also pretty honest and straightforward. Unlike some of the “glamour advertising” that I’ve seen for military recruitment, this mailing showed a truer portrayal with photos of Army men and women participating in military maneuvers.

This package also includes two reply cards – just in case you and your friend want to join together. Using peer inertia to encourage signups is just how teens are wired. And finally, a very cool offer: personalized dog tags, just for sending back the card. While the offer is so good it may have gotten them a lot of bad leads, I have few doubts that it got many conversations going — and that’s what lead generation is all about.

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