Hoping to carve itself a larger slice of the German retail market, Finnish scissors manufacturer Fiskars fashioned a cutting-edge direct mail campaign.
Given that most hardware and home supply retailers have stocked so many scissors throughout the years that not even the special trade models are sold with much fanfare, Heye & Partner, the firm hired to promote Fiskars brand, took a different approach.
Marketers at the company set out to push the brand as the “luxury sports car cutting tools.”
The result of Germany-based Heye’s efforts was a direct mail campaign that earned the ECHO USPS® Gold Mailbox Award for innovation and effectiveness. The award was presented at the 2011 ECHO Awards Gala during the Direct Marketing Association Annual Conference held in Boston in October 2011. The ECHO board of governors selected Heye’s fall 2010 mailing from a group of finalists.
“To be honest, it was not really a campaign,” says Heye creative director Thomas Winklbauer. “It was one mailing impulse.”
Following that impulse resulted in a huge win for the company. In what the company dubbed the “Scheren (German for ‘scissors’) Mailing,” Heye & Partner targeted purchasing managers and directors at top-selling German hardware stores. The mailing featured text, cut out letter by letter, that extolled the precision of Fiskars scissors. A redeemable coupon for more informational materials was included in the mailing, along with an enclosed pair of Fiskars to clip it out.
Fiskars reported a 19-percent increase in orders during the month that the cutout campaign was launched.
Getting the Message Out in One Shot
“Because of the limited budget, we had only one shot at the audience,” recalls creative director Thomas Winklbauer. “So the difficulty was, how can we communicate this as simply as possible, but also in an unusual and remarkable way?”
Emphasizing the brand’s characteristics, Winklbauer and his team crafted the alphabetically illustrated message to harp on Fiskars’ ergonomically sound design and functionality. Says Winklbauer: “It is essential to promote the benefits of a brand that has limited awareness in the market.”
“We wanted to show that, with Fiskars scissors, even the most delicate jobs can be handled,” he says. “Therefore, all letters of the mailing were to be cut out. This way, the recipient can be convinced of the quality of the product, not only in reading, but also in a visual way.”
Heye sent a similar mailing to 100 “exclusive traders” (or vendors), expecting about a quarter of them to communicate their feedback.
“We expected 20 to 25 traders (to reply),” he says. “Instead, 53 responded.” During one month of the campaign, he adds, about 1,000 scissors more than average were ordered.
Heye & Partner’s success with the Fiskars cutout campaign shows that the public remains receptive to thoughtful use of traditional advertising media, says Winklbauer. “Print mailings are still relevant, especially if they are unique,” he adds. “Especially significant goods have a good chance in print direct advertising; for example, automobiles.
“Online and digital are used more and more to reach the masses directly, maybe as kind of a filter for targeting. To address individuals, print mailing is desirable.”
And just as the campaign impacted recipients, so did it impress the ECHO Awards judges. Karen H. Ebben, a General Motors executive and chair of the ECHO board of governors that judged “Scheren Mailing” as the winner, stresses just how worthy the campaign is of the Gold Mailbox prize.
“The Fiskars campaign leveraged the benefits that mail delivers, but are not achievable via electronic means: engaging the sense of touch,” says Ebben. “Its innovation was linking Fiskars scissors to ‘cut-out’ graphics, which enabled the recipient to understand tangible product capabilities.
“All this, in addition to meeting the criteria of an ECHO Award — excellence in creative, strategy and results. At a time when many consider mail to be a tool of the past, the campaign clearly demonstrated how to embrace mail for its uniqueness.”
Marjorie Kalter, New York University clinical professor of marketing and vice chair of the ECHO Award board of governors, agrees: “The Fiskars campaign was awarded this recognition, first because its strategy was brilliant. Through the silhouette graphic design, the mailing showed the ultimate value of the product as a tool for utility and creativity. Second, it was a powerful execution of the strategy through the cut-out graphics. And third, its results were outstanding.”
Winklbauer says the Gold Mailbox win is proving to be an inspiration for Heye marketers in their ongoing push to stretch the boundaries of direct mail.
“The success shows, once again, that there is room for creativity in every area of communication, and that creativity works,” says Winklbauer. “Some may think mail isn’t a good place for creative work. This mailing proves otherwise.”Creativity, Dimensional Mail, Product Samples, Prospecting, Strategy, Targeting