This ain't no Super Bowl ad breakdown...

What's in Kim's Mailbox?

Last night's game was one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever...and I made sure I watched every minute of it.

But I admit...I didn't watch every commercial.

Instead I got up to go to the bathroom.

I went to the kitchen to fix up a bowl of chili and grab a beer.

I called up my mom at the end of the first quarter after the Chiefs got their first touchdown (just like Mom had predicted).

So yeah...I missed a lot of the commercials.

And while I've enjoyed seeing the Super Bowl ad breakdowns some of my friends have done on Facebook and in their emails, you're not going to find any of that here today.

No, this week is going to be our own private "Super Bowl".

Because while I was "hibernating" during most of the month of January...

(which I spent swamped with copy projects...getting my "Fast Track to A-List" group up and going...and squeezing in some college visits to sunny LA with my daughter)...

...I also had a bunch of direct response promos piling up in my mailbox and inbox just waiting for me to share with you. And I'm going to do at least one breakdown with you each day this week.

So let's get going. Today I want to focus on one that has a more personal feel to it.

It's one I recently received from the Arctic Ruby Oil Company. I've been getting promos in my mailbox from this company and its various brands like Immunocorp for years. And they all use the same direct mail it must be working.

Let's take a look at why. Here's what arrived in my mailbox:

Note the return address sticker with the cute image and the inspirational quote (they used a different one on the Immunoderm promotion I received several months ago, and it came in a pink envelope). The hand-written name and address and live stamp also allow it to masquerade as a personal mailing vs. "junk mail".

Then when you open the envelope, there's this short letter that's personalized with my name and address (I've covered it but that's what's in the white space), and even my first name embedded within the copy:

I can't say with certainty that I opened this mailing in the past, but I'm sure I received it. In any case, the recent date in the upper right corner along with the personalization make it feel like a genuine communication.

It makes use of social proof ("most people contact us immediately" and "I've seen it transform the lives of thousands") to make me feel compelled to read it.

And it gives me further reason to do so by calling out 5 big health concerns that it addresses. Since just about any older adult receiving this mailing likely suffers from at least one of them, it's casting a wide net and not leaving anyone out.

Now, about that booklet. Here's what the front of it looks like:

This little booklet measures about 4.75 x 6.5 inches...and it's 32 pages long. Obviously we're not going to look at each page here. But here's the gist of what they're doing:

It's set up very much like a mini-book, with a title page, publication page like you'd find inside an actual book (complete with publisher's name and address, copyright date, and the accompanying legalese). There's also a table of contents, with 5 chapters.

Starting with a brief "Prologue", the copy sets up the story of a sea organism found off the coast of Norway that earned a doctor Norway's most prestigious award. It tells the discovery story, links it to effects seen in wild salmon (no visceral fat!), a small arctic bird considered "the endurance champion", and Eskimos (who never suffer from obesity, diabetes, or heart disease).

Throughout the chapters it weaves in one real-life story after another, explaining the unique mechanism of the Arctic Ruby Oil without getting too science-y. In fact, there is very little science or "proof" offered aside from case studies, including that of one of their lab assistants, "Hakun".

Much of the booklet is written very much the way people talk, including the language they use to describe the main culprit behind these health problems: the "bulge" that this "gut flattening" oil does away with. Here's an example of one of the spreads...

This very simply-written promotion masquerading as a booklet has just a few photos--including ones of Hakun and Henriette that look like stock photos, and one at the end of the doctor with his Norwegian award--which helps with credibility.

But there's no actual study references or other types of proof that more promotional-looking magalogs or sales pages rely on to build trust. Instead it relies on stories that engage, paint a picture of the desired end benefits, and are written in the prospect's language in order to "seal the deal" with this promo.

Speaking of "the deal", in the continued theme of NOT feeling like a sales piece, the only mention of ordering is on the very last page...

As you can see, it offers 3 options for ordering: toll-free number, mail order, or online. Things that in the typical magalog would be in huge type (FREE shipping! Save up to 40%! 100% money back guarantee!) are mentioned in a matter-of-fact way...very similar to the approach taken in a newspaper ad. In fact, there are a lot of similar elements here with successful advertorial-style newspaper ads.

Like I've said, I've seen these same mailings show up for YEARS in my mailbox. There are definitely some ideas here you can borrow for your next direct mail promotion...or even potentially adapt online in your emails or sales pages.

Even when you don't have a ton of proof and credibility at your disposal, you can "borrow" it by using a personal touch, telling relatable stories, and masquerading as a book or other perceived item of value.

That's it for today...look for the next edition of our "Super Bowl" week tomorrow.

And if you see any promos you think are worth studying that you want to send my way for a possible breakdown, you can do so at

Yours for smarter marketing,


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