Allow customers to read the fine print

Fail: Creative   

This fold-out self mailer might be listed on mouseprint for it’s Fail.

The businesses, EAS, appears to have spent a bit extra on printing to include a solid silver color to break though mail clutter. The offer of insulating your home for only $100 is so compelling that it borders on disbelief.  The credibility of the headline is further strained by the reference to “No Money Down / 12 Months No Payment / No Interest Financing".  Hmm, why would those claims be necessary for only $100 worth of servce?  Let’s check out the fine print to find out … What?  You can’t read it?  Well, maybe you can if you have a magnifying glass or zoom in on a scanned image. But the average consumer will not notice and can not read that.

This disclosure* text is in the bottom right corner of the mailer, in white print over a light blue background. The color contrast is inadequate and font appears to be 8 point Arial Narrow, rendering it unreadable.  With a Fail like this, the direct mail solicitation borders on being misleading.  Nearly all offers these days will have some sort of disclosure, but the point of having them is for them to be able to be read.

The piece could also deserve a Fail for creative being heavy on snowflakes while targeting homeowners in south Texas.  It snows here in Houston about once every 3 years.  We care about insulating from heat much more than cool air, even in February.  (As I write this, it is 65 degrees and sunny.)

Learning: Ensure that your disclosure is readable by including the text at a reasonable font size and with adequate color contrast.

* Many people mistakenly refer to small print associated with marketing communications as a disclaimer, when in fact it is a disclosure. According to dictionary.com, a ‘disclaimer’ is “the act of disclaiming; the renouncing, repudiating, or denying of a claim; disavowal” while a ‘disclosure’ is “the act or an instance of disclosing; exposure; revelation.” ‘Disclose’ is defined as “to make known; reveal or uncover” From a Marketing standpoint, a disclaimer is an admission that the headline is false – otherwise why renounce it? However, a disclosure provides secondary but relevant facts of an offer. So the only reason an offer or marketing communication would require a disclaimer is if it was misleading from the onset.

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