You’d probably open this Mail…

Today in my mail I received a blue envelope that had my name and address neatly printed on the front. The reply address was a P.O. Box but it still appeared handwritten. When I flipped the envelope over, it had the Hallmark seal on it. The curiosity got the best of me and I opened it to find a card with the following message:

att uverse mail

This is handwriting font technology and it's really hit the direct mail scene the last couple of years. Direct marketers know that if they get you to open a piece of mail, you're much more apt to read the piece. If you read the piece, you're more apt to call. If you call, you'll probably buy. It all begins with the open, though!

The reason why this font is somewhat believable is how they vary the size of the same letters (check out the ‘e's in speed), and the letter spacing (both kerning and tracking). The technique definitely captures your attention, there's enough of a difference from ordinary type to trick you into thinking it's hand-written.

One easy way to tell that it's not is that the actual lines are perfectly spaced from one another and precisely straight. No doubt these subtleties will also be changed in the future. Either way, it's a pretty nice piece of work and I'm sure it will convert quite a few prospects. I'm not interested since I might be moving soon.


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    Just wait until consumers get savvy to this and start ignoring it. The next step will be for companies to outsource to letter writers in India. Your direct mail will actually be hand written. Things come full circle. Just wait.

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      Hi Willy,

      Interestingly enough, I get very few ‘handwritten’ anything via snail-mail so your prediction is probably accurate.

      As for outsourcing to India – with a burgeoning economy and a falling American dollar, India is becoming more expensive to outsource to – especially since many Indians are well educated (many times in the United States). India has done quite well for itself! I’m not sure they’d be the right prospect for this outsourcing, but I’m not doubting some other low income country could come to the table with that type of solution.


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      One of my friends works on U-verse and he said that it’s very specific household targeting because of the bandwidth and the distance from the routing equipment. He told me literally your next door neighbor may have it but you might not. I think they’re working through the infrastructure issues at a neighborhood to neighborhood level. I’m probably in because I live in an apartment right now – high density!

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    If I were a betting man I’d have $10 on the Philippines as the outsourced location.

    The next development would be for tracking devices that could be utilized to detect the envelope being opened, if it were opened by a male or female, the age of the person and how long before it was taken out with the trash.

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    While you see it as an exciting marketing trend, I see it as a pox. Techniques to trick people into paying attention are just not the kind of techniques I’m interested in employing. Sure they can be effective short-term, but I want people to pay attention to the quality of my brand and what I’m offering, not because some idiot got suckered into thinking I sent them a handwritten note. JWTCW.

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      I’m not sure where I said it was an exciting marketing trend nor did I promote it. I don’t disagree with you, I was simply commenting on the technology – even admiring it. After all, I’m the idiot that got suckered.


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