Hello? Hi? Can you hear me?!? HELLO!!!!….
(crickets… frogs… distant coyote howl)
Sometimes it may feel that no matter how hard you try, getting a client to look at your work can feel like whispering in a circle of vuvuzelas. Introducing my trojan horse; a brick-sized-self-promoting white box.
Fortunately my previous job as an Art Director for national magazines put me in the position to receive self-promotion mailers from aspiring photographers. Most of the promo pieces were 4×6″ postcards with a picture on one side, and printed addresses on the other. Stale, non-personalized, and probably frayed at the edges, the postcards rarely made it from the mail room to my desk. But a box?!? A freakin’ box??? NOW you have my attention. Maybe it’s just me, but when I get a box in the mail with a hand-written address, a slow fuzzy feeling comes over me and my eyes open 43% more than usual. YOU good box are coming back to my desk for a thorough dissection.
Above all I wanted to make a self-promotion mailer that wouldn’t get tossed in the trash right away. Considering the caliber of ad agencies, magazine photography editors, athletic teams, and select others that will receive this mailer, that is a tall order to accomplish.
The first step. Well, I wish this was the actual first step; neatly stacked boxes of everything I need suddenly appearing at my office. Everything from the dimensions of the boxes, size of the stickers, color of the camera, size of the camera, color of the stamps, dimension of the print holder, size of the foam packaging, pictures to use… well, you get the idea. After an endless amount of virtual measuring and imagination, I pulled the trigger and ordered everything you see above.
Here is everything involved in 1 mailer before any folding, gluing, plucking, sticking and stamping.
I practically modeled my entire mailer around the slogan “GIVE ME A SHOT”. Sending out shot glasses to possible clients wasn’t really a wise option, so why not place stickers with the slogan on disposable cameras. In return I hope to see some cool pictures.
Sarah, my big sis, kindly lent a hand in the tedious process of assembling the boxes. Here she’s gluing in the foam to the edges so the camera doesn’t get banged up.
Additional little foam bits were glued in to hold the camera in nice and snug as a bug. Each mailer comes with a personalized note. When testing the boxes on my artsy neighbors, I noticed they had a hard time opening the plastic card box. So on each note I included a diagram on how to open it. Problem solved.
I couldn’t send out plain white boxes, instead I stamped each box with my logo, address, and “Emergency Photo Kit” on the inside flap. The personalized notes were then taped to the inside.
Oh my gosh, Moo cards… What would I do without you for this project? Practically the centerpiece of my mailer. Of course when sending out a photography self-promotion piece, pictures MUST be included. I’ve heard great things about Moo cards, and now I’m the preacher. The quality is top notch, and the option of printing up to 50 different looking cards in 1 order is perfect for my project. Here they are stacked and ready to be sorted into each mailer. Bogart did a fine job of watching… and scratching… and licking… Good boy.
400 total cards were ordered. 40 different images, 8 included in each mailer, however not chosen at random. In this case I’m sending this mailer out to a cycling company, and therefore include mostly cycling pictures. Each mailer contains a unique set of cards in a hard plastic case. Each Moo card has my contact info on the back, and for good measure I included my personal business card.
Good to go! After a few dozen more, I just need to close em, lick a few stamps, write addresses, and ship em out!
“Without advertising, something terrible happens… nothing.” Once this famous statement became rooted into my brain I started my project. Creativity, personalization, and budget-friendly were key in building these mailers. Each mailer has a different message along with a different set of cards to view. A small idea turned into a 3-month long project. Now I feel confident with what I’ve sent out to my prospective clients, and hopefully, they give me a shot!