When it comes to creating great appeals, less really can be more.
You've got some great creative sorted. It's been signed off and is going through artwork. The data is processed. The printer has your slot booked and everything is looking good for the mailing,
Then suddenly there is a phone call. A breathless voice says we have some great new information that we need to add to the appeal. It shouldn't be more than a paragraph or two and is going to make all the difference.
And that promise is likely to be correct. Those two paragraphs will make the all the difference.
- They will disrupt the flow of the copy.
- They will cause the reader to disengage from the central argument.
- They will turn a personal letter created to pull the reader closer into a communication aimed at pushing unnecessary information at them.
No matter how great the information, a last minute rushed addition to any piece of creative work is incredibly dangerous.
If it is just something that might add a little more evidence or human interest to the appeal, reject it.
If it really is great information that could take centre stage, look at the appeal again. You will need to add some time to the schedule, tell the printer and mailing house of the delay and then look at how you can incorporate it in the mailing.
If the creatives agree, then make the changes – not just to the letter, but the whole pack – to the envelopes, the enclosures and most importantly, the donation form.
This might cost you time and money, but it will mean you have a better appeal that will raise more income. And if the information is introduced to raise more cash, this is the way to do it.
At times like these, less can be more.
As an example of what I mean, take a look at this scene that was deleted from The Italian Job (The original one with the Aston Martin, Michael Caine and Benny Hill).
It's known as The Blue Danube sequence and features a waltz between the three escaping Minis and three police cars.
On its own it is beautiful. But drop it in to a fast paced chase and it destroys the energy completely.
Troy Kennedy Martin (who wrote the film) couldn't believe it was going to be included and luckily Robert Evans (Head of Production) agreed stating that it was pure directional indulgence.
(Look out for the great blend between The Blue Danube and Self Preservation Society at the end).