A great little mailer from a terrific charity

October4

The New York City Rescue Mission is one of my two favorite charities (the other is Smile Train).

They both mail quite a bit and with different creative approaches that are all consistently excellent. This may be the Rescue Mission’s best. I think they use it twice a year, once for Thanksgiving and once for Christmas.

The headline is simple and brilliant: COMPLETE THANKSGIVING DINNER ONLY $2.09. A quibbler might have two quibbles: “They’re offering you a complete Thanksgiving dinner?” or “To whom are they offering a complete Thanksgiving dinner?

Neither is a problem because, showing through the window and right above the headline, is the name and return address of the Rescue Mission. That makes it instantly clear that the headline means, as the letter says, “send us $2.09 and we’ll give a complete Thanksgiving dinner to one of New York’s neediest people.

The exactness of the $2.09 hits the perfect note. Some marketers would recommend making the amount under two dollars, as in $1.99. That would be a mistake because it is obviously phony. Two dollars and nine cents is cheap as hell for a complete Thanksgiving dinner.

The “asks” on the response card are for a lot more than $2.09 but they are always a multiple of $2.09 – “$68.97 to help 33 people” for example.

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If a driverless SUV crashes in the forest, does it make a sound?

October1

Jeep, owned by Chrysler (which, I think, we bought and gave to the UAW for some reason), spent several hundred thousand dollars to place this double page spread ad in the prime inside-front-cover spot in the October National Geographic.

Why?

On a mood photo of the offside front of an SUV in the woods appears the aggressively fonted four-word headline: PLASTIC CANNOT BE FORGED.

What plastic? The SUV? Jeep makes plastic SUVs?

Forged in what sense? Like in a steel mill? Or faked in a counterfeiter’s basement like bogus Benjamins? Maybe forged in the sense of making one’s way ploddingly through an obstacle, as in “The SUV forged through the underbrush”?

Maybe there’s a typo and it should have read PLASTIC CANNOT BE FORCED, or PLASTIC CANNOT FORGET. Nah, those make even less sense, not much less, though.

Just guessing, but what Jeep probably meant to say is that their competitors’ products are made of plastic which cannot be forged like steel and Jeep’s SUV is made of steel, which is forged, and that’s a good thing for you if you buy one. Ta da!

I love the tag line: WHAT WE MAKE, MAKES US.

It’s a sentence but an odd sentence. The subject is “What we make” and the verb is “makes” but they are separated by a comma. That’s only mildly odd. Odder is that this is one of those tag lines that could go with anything. Trojan Condoms: What we make, makes us; Ernest & Julio Gallo: what we make, makes us.

Illiterate, pointless, and nearly universal. A trifecta.