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Ritter’s Direct Mail Piece of the Week: Cornell University

Colleges and universities seek continued engagement with alumni for many reasons including generating PR, cultivating donors and volunteers, outreach to the community and celebrating important milestones. My alma mater, Cornell, recently sent out a mailer to publicize its 150 year anniversary. Cornell is and has been hosting a series of gatherings across the world celebrating its Sesquicentennial. This mailer was directed at alumni in Florida as our celebration is in West Palm Beach and it caught my eye first for the see thru envelope then the uniqueness of the piece inside. Let’s take a closer look.

Format: The outer envelope was 6” x 9” with two insert pieces: one was 5” x 9” which folded to 3” x 5” and the other one was 8.75” x 11.5” folded in half to 5.75” x 8.5”. Cornell University_0002

Design: The see thru envelope was effective because I could see an image on the front which said “Cornell Celebrates 150” and images of our founder and first president. The back image said “150” in a large font that is branded to the 150 celebrations around the world. The smaller piece was tucked inside the bigger piece so was not visible until the piece was removed from the envelope. The smaller piece had a nice design that matched the bigger piece and it listed the details of the event. Cornell’s primary color is red and of course the pieces were printed using the Cornell red. Cornell University_0003

Printing & Paper: The part of the mailer that captivated my attention was the larger insert piece. It had a diecut pop-up when you open the piece. The pop-ups were cut outs of our founder and first president (same folks as on the front of the piece but different images). What a nice effect!Cornell pic

Presentation:  Using a see thru envelope was more impactful than just sending a self-mailer. That is not done as frequently and can net much better results than a self-mailer.

Purpose: Cornell is using this piece to get alumni to sign up for the event.

Offer and Call to Action: The call to action was to sign up for the event on a dedicated webpage. Seating is limited in the venue so Cornell was asking alumni to sign up by a certain date.

Digital technology: None. They probably could have included a qr code that would take the alum to the sign up page but then again many Florida alumni are elderly and would they really scan a qr code?

Personalization: None but the alumni list was targeted.

Overall, I loved the piece from the see thru envelope to the pop up. The diecut pop-up is more expensive but it’s unusual and generated a wow factor. The mailer was also targeted at me so it hit the correct person at the correct time and I am attending the event.

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