A Top-Flight Campaign from CRP Industries

Pushing the Envelope: Taking Flight with CRP Industries


Balsa airplane in flight

Sure, it’s easy to say that high-quality motors make machines work better. But saying so is one thing; sending a physical embodiment of the message through the mail is another.

And that’s just what CRP Industries did when it mailed targets an unassembled toy airplane that lacked a key component: the rubber band that makes the plane perform at its best.

“The concept was ‘This is missing something, and your machine is missing something if you don’t have the right motor on your machine to deliver to your customers,’” says Mike Palm, vice president of marketing and sales at CRP. “You need a high-quality, reliable, proven motor like the (original) rubber band for this airplane.”

An enclosed letter challenged recipients to try other rubber bands, but warned that without the original, specially made, high-quality rubber band, the performance wouldn’t be as good. Copy then reads, “It’s much the same with Perske motors — they make a difference, no matter what you make.” (CRP is the exclusive North American representative of Perske motors.)

Cranbury, N.J.–based CRP sent the mailing in April 2010 to 220 targets at companies that build industrial machines. The highly qualified list included current customers, lapsed customers and prospects who work in areas like engineering, purchasing and product development.

The branded balsa-wood plane was a gift likely to appeal to the older, predominantly male target list. “It hit a home run with our audience,” Palm says. “The bulk of the people we’re mailing are working within the woodworking industry or attached industries, so it resonated.” Likewise, some recipients said the piece evoked memories of their childhood. “There was a real good association with that,” Palm says.

The mailers, which cost about $9.50 apiece, also included a trifold brochure that gave assembly instructions and highlighted some Perske advantages. The note urging targets to try substitute rubber bands also featured a call to action; recipients could fax it back (faxing is still popular among this audience) to request the original rubber band. Plus, the sheet asked two qualifying questions and requested contact information that would validate the company’s data on each target. (The same document could be filled out on a microsite, too.)

CRP sent non-responders the original rubber band with a letter about six weeks after the piece was delivered. The company followed up with a postcard and continued the theme in an e-mail blast about an upcoming tradeshow and at the event itself. Based on interaction with attendees at the show, Palm says unaided recall of the campaign was 20 percent, and aided recall was higher.

Neither the client nor agency would say how many targets actually requested the rubber band, but that figure wasn’t a critical metric. CRP wanted the campaign to build mind share and entice recipients to seek more information about Perske motors.

Ultimately 10–15 percent of targets reached out to the company. CRP created quotes for five firms; two have resulted in business and a third was still in development at press time. “We dramatically cut down our cycle time from prospect stage to quote stage,” Palm says.

Less quantifiable is the branding component of the multi-touch effort, which deviated from the niche’s typically conservative marketing. “It’s, ‘Oh that’s the company that sent me that cool plane,’” says Al Navarro, chief creative officer of CRP’s agency, Mint Advertising in Branchburg, N.J. “So we’re differentiating ourselves from other people by the way we communicate.”

The Essentials:

Company: CRP Industries (Cranbury, N.J.), crpindustries.com

Agency: Mint Advertising (Branchburg, N.J.), mintadvertising.com

Target Audience: 220 engineers and other personnel at North American companies that build industrial machines, including those for woodworking, tool grinding and stone cutting.

Goal: Build mind share and prompt targets to inquire about Perske motors.

DM Vehicle: A white box (12 X 4.5 X 2.25 inches) containing an unassembled, branded balsa-wood airplane missing its rubber-band “motor,” a trifold brochure and a response form.

Response: 10 to 15 percent of targets contacted the company for more information about Perske motors.


B-to-B Marketing, Case Studies, Creativity, CRM/Customization, Dimensional Mail, Medium Business, Personalization, Prospecting, Targeting