image and video source: http://www.wimp.com/babyhummingbird/#
The email was forwarded to my personal account by an acquaintance, the format and appearance were very simple, consisting of only a subject and link. The subject, “A baby hummingbird- so cute” and the link, which was the only text in the body of the email.
I clicked the link and watched the video. Hummingbirds are actually extremely cute and fun to watch, and the dynamic between the young man and this tiny bird is heartwarming. Needless to say, the video is quite popular.
The next day I was gathering the assorted direct mail pieces and bills from the mailbox and a beautiful hummingbird was there to great me:
While I doubt that there is a direct connection between the baby hummingbird video and the direct mail piece, the timing is what makes this piece memorable.
The Nature Conservancy is one of the leaders in developing persuasive literature. The company’s “Save the Sandhill Crane” is cited in many marketing books including Write On Target, as an example of a successful direct mail campaign. The organization could have used any number of species that benefit from their work as the cover model for this specific campaign. Why a hummingbird, and why now?
There is a cyclical nature to the popularity of hummingbird searches on the internet. I assume it has something to do with the animal’s migration patterns. There is also a large and influential company named “Hummingbird” that tends to be in the news for various reasons. I argue that the strongest association of the word for the public is with the tiny creature. Even when the company makes news, the name evokes emotions in the target market for this campaign associated with the bird.
This piece arrived during annual giving season in late December; off-peak for the animal’s search popularity. However, news stories about hummingbirds or “Hummingbird” are noticeably on the rise immediately before this campaign (see lower chart, Google Trends Hummingbird Search). The tiny bird is at the top of mind for many informed audiences, and this direct mail piece aimed to coincide with public interest. By choosing a cover model that is at the top of mind (appeals to a pre-existing interest), more recipients are likely to open the envelope and read the contents. I believe that the timing of this piece contributed tremendously to the success of the campaign.
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