Do Puns Sell? (Or, “This Makes Me See Red”)

June 21st, 2007 by Bob Bly

The Economist recently sent me a promotion that flies in the face of conventional wisdom for what works in direct mail selling magazine subscriptions:

1. It’s a self-mailer.

2. The whole thing is white type on red paper stock.

3. Even though it’s an oversize mailer, it’s mainly blank space with just a headline and one short paragraph of copy.

4. It’s a pun. The headline says “Passionately Red” — and remember, the whole mailer is bright red.

Yet, I suspect it may be working, since I THINK I got this — or something close to it — once before from The Economist.

Anyone out there get the Economist’s “red” mailing and have any thoughts on whether and why it works?

Anyone out there associated with the Economist who can tell us the results on this piece?

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2007 at 8:03 am and is filed under Direct Marketing, General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

45 responses about “Do Puns Sell? (Or, “This Makes Me See Red”)”

  1. Jim Logan said:

    Red State Republicans come to mind. Many conservatives would disagree, but he Economist is generally known as a right-leaning weekly…on issues related to the economy. I think :-)

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read The Economist, but that’s the first thing that hit my mind.

  2. Sheri Cyprus said:

    Interesting timing for me that you would have a post about color in mailing, Bob, — especially red. I’m currently writing a Christmas-themed sweeps package and lately I’ve been wondering about the different messages the colors red and green send to people etc. Jim, now I’m curious — if The Economist’s red mailing made you think of the political right, would a predominantly green mailing make you think of the political left then, as in environmentall issues, or not necessarily?

  3. Jodi Kaplan said:

    I worked for the Economist’s conference and research report division a LOOONG time ago. It’s red because The Economist logo is red (it’s a particular PMS color, which they internally refer to as “Economist red”), so it’s both “punny” and branding. Back then, what tested well (for the reports at least) was a 6×9 window envelope. I don’t know what’s pulling now.

  4. Sam I Am said:

    Maybe it’s a pun on that silly (red) campaign?

  5. Mordechai (Morty) Schiller said:

    You might want to check with the “Who’s Mailing What” archive to see how often it mailed.

    I also find it hard to believe that it worked. But I have found that the decisions on these things are not always based on hard data. Too many times creative decisions are based on what someone in charge “likes”!

    I once told an agency that the ad they wanted to use to promote their services was a mistake. It didn’t focus on benefits; it was based on irrelevant borrowed interest and a weak pun. I said it would make them look foolish.

    They dropped me from the project for trying to help them!


  6. Gloria Hildebrandt said:

    Sheri, I would definitely tend to think that the use of green is an attempt to associate with environmentalism and the Green Party. Except if it was used with a Christmas tree or wreath. Red and green together only suggests Christmas to me.

  7. Mary-Ann Horley said:

    Interesting, the Economist is a British magazine and red has the complete opposite political meaning here. I suspect what the red is trying to do is subconsciously balance out the fiscally-right-leaning content of the magazine.

  8. Linda G said:

    Interesting theories all, so here’s another less heady one (pun intended). In the millisecond it takes you to assess an advertisement your eyeballs have sent a message to your brain that some kind of action is needed. Red is primal, it makes your eyes dilate which tells your brain to pay attention. That’s why stop sign are red and exec’s wear red power ties and a host of other examples you can conjure up right now. The bigger the concentration of red the more pronounced the actual biological reaction. Like it or not, unless we are desensitized through negative exposure, red will always make us “ready”.

  9. said:

    I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thank you, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

  10. million hits secret bonus said:

    What would we do minus the amazing suggestions you write about on this blog? Who has got the persistence to deal with vital topics for the health of common visitors like me? I and my guys are very delighted to have your web blog among the kinds we generally visit. It is hoped you know how very much we love your hard work! Best wishes from us all.

  11. said:

    But wanna remark on few general things, The website design is perfect, the written content is real good : D.

  12. said:

    Merely wanna admit that this is invaluable , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  13. Mellissa Parga said:

    I dugg some of you post as I thought they were very useful handy

  14. said:

    Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  15. said:

    I reckon something genuinely special in this web site.

  16. said:

    Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  17. said:

    Very interesting points you have noted , regards for posting . “What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.” by Pearl Bailey.

  18. said:

    I’ve learn some just right stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you place to make this type of fantastic informative website.

  19. said:

    Hey, you used to write fantastic, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!

  20. said:

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thankyou for posting .

  21. Humberto Aiu said:

    Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  22. said:

    Some really good info , Gladiola I detected this. “Things we not hope for often come to pass than things we wish.” by Titus Maccius Plautus.

  23. said:

    Thanks, I’ve recently been looking for information approximately this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon so far. However, what concerning the bottom line? Are you certain concerning the supply?

  24. said:

    you are in reality a good webmaster. The site loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a great job in this subject!

  25. said:

    I’ve learn several good stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you set to create this kind of excellent informative website.

  26. said:

    I dugg some of you post as I thought they were extremely helpful handy

  27. Recommended Site said:

    This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

  28. Find Out More said:

    After looking over a handful of the articles on your web page, I honestly like your way of blogging. I added it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website too and tell me how you feel.

  29. escape room bucuresti said:

    you have an important weblog here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my blog?

  30. Continue Reading said:

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It’s the little changes that produce the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  31. said:

    I will immediately grab your rss as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me realize in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  32. my website said:

    Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  33. said:

    My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  34. said:

    Some truly select blog posts on this internet site , saved to favorites .

  35. Coy Landau said:

    Thanks you for sharing with us.

  36. said:

    Good write-up, I am regular visitor of one’s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

  37. said:

    Real wonderful info can be found on website . “The greatest mistake is trying to be more agreeable than you can be.” by Walter Bagehot.

  38. said:

    I have learn some just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot effort you place to make one of these fantastic informative web site.

  39. said:

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  40. said:

    Absolutely pent content , thankyou for selective information .

  41. Harley Noegel said:

    I simply had to thank you very much yet again. I am not sure what I would have handled without these tactics shared by you relating to such a question. Completely was a real troublesome situation in my circumstances, nevertheless taking a look at a new expert fashion you processed the issue forced me to cry for happiness. I am just grateful for your information and thus wish you are aware of a powerful job you are always putting in instructing people today with the aid of your websites. I am certain you’ve never met all of us.

  42. Evan Nunes said:

    Thank you for helping out, great info. “Job dissatisfaction is the number one factor in whether you survive your first heart attack.” by Anthony Robbins.

  43. Deangelo Mcanallen said:

    I am commenting to make you be aware of of the excellent discovery my cousin’s daughter undergone reading through your site. She noticed many issues, most notably what it is like to possess an ideal coaching heart to make folks clearly know a number of multifaceted issues. You actually exceeded her expectations. Thank you for delivering these insightful, healthy, informative and even unique thoughts on the topic to Mary.

  44. Bong Toy said:

    Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  45. said:

    Needed to create you a little bit of word to help thank you very much over again considering the gorgeous guidelines you’ve contributed above. This is simply remarkably open-handed of you to present publicly precisely what many of us could have supplied for an ebook to generate some profit for themselves, especially considering the fact that you could have done it if you desired. Those smart ideas likewise worked like a easy way to know that the rest have similar dreams just as my personal own to see a good deal more with respect to this issue. I know there are a lot more enjoyable sessions ahead for folks who discover your website.

Leave a Reply