5 Excellent Direct Mail Ideas That Will Inspire You

April 5, 2023 by
Jasmyn Head

, and marketing designs often have to accommodate the changing requirements of NZ Post to ensure the final mailing piece does not exceed the maximum letter depth of 20 mm, while also taking into account the clear space required on the outer of the mailer, which enables the mail sorting machines to scan and sort.

While this doesn’t sound like the best way to inspire clever direct mail marketing ideas, it actually results in some fun, creative thinking by brands who prove you can ‘push the envelope’.


Clever ADT flat direct mail piece pops up into a box when slid under the door

ADT: Proving big things can come in small packages

Starting with a favourite example first. ADT shows real creativity in bypassing the depth issue of a letter through clever use of a flat box that pops up into a 3D box on arrival. While not a direct mail example that would work in NZ (because we don’t slide mail under the door), this could be a clever and more effective ‘flyer drop’ to the door rather than the letter box.

The idea here is ADT suggest it is easier to break into your apartment than you think. When the mailing piece slides under the door (or drops through the door mailing slot), it pops open, suggesting someone has broken in and left a box delivery inside.

This is a fun and creative idea for direct mail that serves as a reminder that print doesn’t have to be two-dimensional! There are some resourceful paper and cardboard engineers out there.

Karsten Beer: Clever print and design to get the message across in a few simple words

This Karsten beer example shows how powerful good design can be in print media. “The illusion is fake, the beer is real” is all the story that this powerful design requires to get the message across. The engaging illusion of the psychedelic background moving around the beer bottle not only catches the eye, but also captures it.  

Wallace Cotton: If you live in New Zealand, you'll recognise these beautiful prints a mile away!

Printed right here at Mailshop, one notable example of a brand embracing the print and mail requirements of NZ Post is Wallace Cotton. The brand is a true testament to the fact that design and aesthetics do not have to suffer at the hands of the humble envelope!

Wallace Cotton has a reputation for sustainability by reducing plastics with their fabric packaging, as well as their use of ethical suppliers, organic and natural fibers. When presented the option to send their seasonal catalogues in paper envelopes, it was a no brainer.  In fact, taking advantage of the print area available on the envelope, Wallace Cotton showcase their beautiful, seasonal prints, giving the recipient an enticing preview of what’s to come.

“𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲, 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘆𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝘂𝘀𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝘄𝗿𝗮𝗽 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝗮𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝗻𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽𝗲𝘀 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗼𝗯𝘃𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗲𝗻𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀.” - Wallace Cotton

Digital print technology has come a long way to live up to the high quality envelope printing required to do these wondrous designs justice, and Mailshop continues to invest in digital print technologies that deliver excellence in this space.

Netflix: Evidence Package DM

What better way to immerse the target audience in an experiential campaign than to put them in the middle of a scene. Love the creative use of print materials to set a scene and build excitement for the upcoming release of a much anticipated second series of Pablo Escobar. To sit well with a NZ audience, the evidence bag should be paper based or at least recyclable.

Beyond how awesome this concept is, it is also one of the most cost effective to produce among this list of direct marketing ideas. Each element can be digitally printed, matched and assembled with ease, while the opportunities for personalisation are endless. The concept of a folder of items sent to set a particular scene can be built upon by adding personal details, variably printed on each piece.

Halo Top: The (un)wanted envelope

Another favourite, this super effective mailing created for Halo Top, took advantage of the famously known blue Dutch Tax Authority warning letter sent in tax season. While definitely an envelope no Dutch Adult wants to receive, it is guaranteed to be opened and grab attention. A 40% response rate made this direct mailing piece a stellar idea.  Had any recipient not had an eye for detail on the envelope, they would have been surprised and delighted by the offer of free ice cream waiting inside.

The international examples listed above are a collection of favourites from www.adsoftheworld.com. A brilliant source of inspiration when contemplating original direct mail marketing ideas.

Mailshop consistently works with clients to find ways to ‘push the envelope’ with our direct mail solutions, while also working within NZ Post requirements that need to be met for bulk mail discounts. 

If you’re hoping to make an impact with your next direct mail campaign, contact our team.

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