DM Tips #16 - Direct Mail excitement, ASTM Int'l, Spin4fun & more_______ ____ July, 2002

Published as a resource for your direct marketing work. Depend on FCC for imaginative, results-producing creative work, including direct mail - web - e-mail - ads - more!


--Direct Mail - the excitement is back!

- Fried-Cassorla Communications revamps ASTM _____International web site, traffic increases

- Spin4fun - innovative database-building game

--Photos - cute shots from Info-Boy! reading

--Humor - the best (and surely the only) Cigar Insurance story you ever heard




 Dear Friend,

--NBIs direct mail on the upswing? For high-impact communications, it's the medium of choice. You could say the article below is my "bouquet" to the strengths of mail.

--NBOn another note... I hope you're having a beautiful and prosperous Summer!

Direct Mail -- getting applause from marketers again!

by Albert Fried-Cassorla

Marketers across the nation are re-discovering direct mail. Why? Because it gets attention. Physical, postal mail gives you a unique stage for your selling message, especially in an era of e-info glut.

That wasn't always the case. When phase one of the Internet revolution was going full tilt about three years ago, marketers were bailing out of the direct mail medium in droves. It was derided as yesterday's tool.

Now, a year or so after the "dot-bomb" implosion, people are beginning to realize that direct mail has exceptional strength, especially in certain markets and situations. Consider:

  • Mail volume will grow - According to a recent study by the Winterberry Group, direct mail volume is expected to rise through the year 2007. Forget anthrax, these are "the facts."
  • Marketing expenditures for direct mail are increasing - In a survey of 1,022 marketing executives by, 35% reported an increase in their direct mail spending. By contrast, 50% said their TV advertising had declined, and 16% said it had increased.

True, some applications of direct mail will go away permanently. As examples: invoices that can easily be handled over the Internet; past-due notices; and routine customer service inquiries and follow-ups.

What's exciting about direct mail now

Marketers are coming to realize that in many cases, in order to penetrate the consciousness of the prospect, an upscale medium must be used. Direct mail, when properly created, can create that aura. It can easily penetrate both the marketplace clutter and the fog of advertising overload.

Here's why:

Mail is more tactile -- Direct mail has a physical presence. Pixels are easy to create and just as easy to dispense with. One click and they disappear into oblivion. With direct mail, you must gather, feel and sort. Your hands touch the stuff before a decision is made. That's your big opportunity. The touching process gives you a chance to stand out before customers and say "open me" in so many more powerful ways than with simply with an appealing e-mail subject line.

Mail can be more upscale -- In an era of incessant telemarketing intrusiveness (with apologies to my phone-bound brethren!), elegant mail announces itself as the sophisticated guest who has arrived in the parlor. Here are just a few tips on how to be ignored: use attractive paper stock, provocative or thoughtful teaser lines, live or pre-canceled stamps, and elegant non-machine-look handwriting.

Off-line supports online -- Off-line media such as mail and print ads can support your many Web-based efforts. They can reach your customers when they're not on the web. This is especially true of direct mail that includes a powerful offer. Drive customers to your web site with contests that are truly fun to play, with incentives that are genuinely worthwhile (that you'd respond to, bubby), and you'll win at the Web. The art of creating mail that gets opened is a fine craft. Work with a practitioner who knows what he's up to.

Postal mailing lists are richer than e-mail lists -- If you have ever attempted to rent an e-mail list for an arcane specialty, or even to mail deeply within an established market - you know that it can be tough. The diversity found pales in comparison to that of postal mailing lists. All of which is not to knock e-mail marketing. In fact, I use it all the time. What this article is about is finding the right medium for the particular challenge. Ten years from now, e-mail lists may comparable in richness to their postal counterparts. But that time is not here yet.

So -- is direct mail right for you and your clients?

No medium is right for all occasions. But if your product or service is relatively high-margin, mail is probably right. If your target market regards e-mail as junk communication, you've discovered another reason to "go postal."

When the circumstances demand a relatively complete selling job, mail allows it. You give yourself the space needed to tell your tale. A related question: How long should a letter be? My answer: As long as you have emotionally compelling sales messages to tell. But do get the essence across on the top of the first page. The sincerely interested will read on -- or better yet, jump right to the Order Form!

Find the right format

Is your message short but potent? Then use an oversized post card to trumpet it!

Offline (postal mail) can also drive online (the web) superbly. Of course, all of the heavy armaments should be brought to the prow of the ship: powerful copy and graphics, a dynamite offer, an understanding of the customers' mentality and more.

Each situation gives us craftsmen of direct mail special opportunities. Personally, I like to work up radically different approaches and formats and select the likely winner from this appealing bunch. No matter which format you choose, take advantage of mail's special strengths. Be sure they notice it, like it, feel it, open it, maybe smell or taste it -- but definitely respond to it.

* * *

Find out how Fried-Cassorla Communications has used direct mail and other media to achieve spectacular results! Visit -- read our Success Stories on our work for Merck & Company, UNISYS, GMAC, CIGNA, Scott Paper Company and others ! Then contact us at to see how we can help you with your challenges!

Add muscle to your direct response creative work!

Let us help boost your response with powerful copywriting and design! Contact Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc. now at 215-635-5189 (USA) or 

Fried-Cassorla Communications revamps ASTM International web site, traffic increases

Fried-Cassorla Communications has completed a major revamping of the web site of ASTM International.

The organization is a not-for-profit group that reaches thousands of professionals around the world.The purpose of their web site is to provide a global forum for the development and sale of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services.

For this extensive redesign project, ASTM needed a web site which conveyed a higher level of professionalism, was easier to understand and navigate, more attractive to visit, and which sold more merchandise to members and visitors. Greater consistency was also sought in the appearance of pages within the site.

Different preferences among various ASTM International committees had to be balanced with the need for the site as a whole to have a consistent look and feel. Senior management sought a relatively simple and yet professional approach in terms of graphics and navigation.

The new site is more visually appealing and has easier navigation. Ordering products via a secure server remains a major feature of the site. Special sub-markets have been targeted. Each sub-group -- such as consultants, trainers, and buyers of design standards -- that visits the site now finds its own section is more attractive and easy to use.

A more powerful, dynamic navigation system was built for the entire site. We spent months meeting special needs and approval processes, so that senior and middle management found the final approach chosen to be appealing and workable. A large central section of the home page and other important pages was left open for a logo and appealing graphics.

A variable banner area was included near the top of the home page to sell visitors on joining, and for other purposes. We chose a tiled button navigation system that kept pages elegant and informative. Mouse-over type yielded valuable additional information to those who placed a cursor over buttons, helping tell them of enticing information available. In addition, we used java-script, branching mouse-overs, so that visitors could go directly to sub-sections of interior pages directly from the buttons. The site's search engine also spares visitors unnecessary search time by giving them specific search categories.

The revamped site was launched in November, 2001. In comparing the number of hits per month of January 2001 with December 2001, the total number of hits increased from 5,215,238 to 5,804,513. This represents an increase of approximately 10%. While we cannot be certain as to what factors played a role in this increase, we believe that some of the 10% increase was due to the easier-to-navigate, more attractive and consistent organization of the site.

Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc. is a full service advertising agency specializing in direct marketing, electronic marketing, e-mail, and web design. Since 1988, the company has generated over $220 million in sales for such prestigious clients as Merck & Co., UNISYS, GMAC, CIGNA, and many small to medium-sized firms.

02:4 __________________________# # #



Innovative Spin4fun game gives marketers a powerful new tool


Spin4fun uses humor to build customer databases.

A powerful new marketing tool devised by MAC Direct has shown excellent early results. MAC Direct is a database marketing services company. In a recent convention traffic test usage, over 20% of Spin4fun recipients of a post card about the game converted into booth-visitors and active prospects.

Called Spin4fun, this tool offers marketing an intriguing solution to several challenges, including those associated with breaking through the mailbox clutter, building a customer and prospect database, and combining offline and online media. To receive a PIN number and see for yourself how this personalized, database-building game works, write to

Need help with your e-mail campaign?
Let us help you turn pixels into profits! Call Fried-Cassorla Communications at 215-635-5189 or e-mail!


Info-Boy! audience gets its blues un-blocked at the Hedgerow Theatre earlier this month

As you probably know from reading this newsletter or hearing my incessant chatter, I had the good fortune to have my play, Info-Boy!, read at the Hedgerow Theatre in Media, PA on May 6th and 8th. I had a great time! As to the audience, well, you'll have to ask them. Everybody got authentic Bluesblocker glasses to keep. They're so mind-altering and mood-lifting!

As the photo above attests, at least some people definitely had their blues un-blocked! Info-Boy! is the story of an infomercial executive who invents sunglasses that cure depression -- or do they? The acting was fine, and Artistic Director Penelope Reed gave me much encouragement. We even had on hand an authentic Info-Boy, QVC-based entrepreneur Hank Greenfield. If you like, see some more pix HERE . The truly motivated can read a nice article about it printed in The Ticket, or one in the Times Chronicle.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ smooths your journey to Florence!

If you're thinking about taking a trip to Florence, do yourself a favor. Make reservations in advance to see major attractions such as Michelangelo's David, and the Uffizi Gallery. I did, and the results were incredible -- we were spared a 3-hour wait in the hot sun.

You reserve via the web, receive a confirmation via e-mail, and then spend your time enjoying fine art and cosmopolitan surroundings... instead of just baking and venting! Visit today to make your reservations. You might also like to shop online and pick up some lovely gifts while at the site. Business reporters, explore the many interesting facets of this unusual web site and catalog. Contact me at for varied story ideas.


 When you need help with your direct mail campaign, who ya gonna call?

We've helped many companies successfully reach B2B and consumer markets with our power-packed direct mail. See the Success Stories on our web site, or even better... give us a call! 215-635-5189 (USA) or





Cigar Insurance Story (supposedly true, and with a surprise ending!)

A Charlotte, North Carolina man, having purchased a box of 24 rare and very expensive cigars, insured them against... fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous cigars, and having yet to make a single premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the man stated that he had lost the cigars in "a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued, and won.

In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that the man held a policy from the company in which it was warranted that the cigars were insurable. The company, in the policy, had also guaranteed that it would insure the cigars against fire, without defining what it considered to be "unacceptable fire," and so, the company was obligated to compensate the insured for his loss. Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the judge's ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he had lost in "the fires."

However, shortly after the man cashed his check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson. With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case used as evidence against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning the rare cigars and sentenced to 24 consecutive one-year prison terms.



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Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc.
"Imaginative Direct Marketing and Advertising"

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© Copyright 2002 by Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.