8 Fun Examples of Direct Mail You Have to See

8 Fun Examples of Direct Mail You Have to See

Read Time: 6 Minutes


08 Jan 2019


Be honest. How many (unread) marketing emails have you deleted this week? So many it’s hard to keep count, we’ll bet. If you’re looking for a way to make your business stand out, the first obstacle to get around is actually getting your message seen.

Sending physical mail out to your customers is a fantastic way of getting attention. In fact, 70-80% of consumers polled by DMA say they open most of their mail – even the direct marketing mail! 

Been there, done that? Don’t worry; direct mail doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring. Here are our favourite examples of fun direct mail campaigns that caught the customer eye and made a big splash.

1.    Nestle

(Source: D&AD)


Walking through the door and seeing one of these notes from the postman telling you they couldn’t deliver your parcels definitely makes us stop and look.

Nestle’s fantastic KitKat campaign used this Royal Mail inspired design as a pretence for this coupon. (We know, it really doesn’t look like your everyday coupon!). This encouraged consumers to take the coupon to the newsagent to redeem their free bar of KitKat chunky – that was apparently too chunky to fit through the door!

As well as the always popular tongue-in-cheek approach, this direct mail campaign worked particularly well due to the personalisation. Each name looks as though it’s handwritten on. The result? 87% of recipients redeemed their free chocolate bar.


2.    IKEA

(Source: Mayven)


One trend we can’t get enough of is 3D direct mail. This example from IKEA was used to spice up a catalogue and create interest in the brand. Once opened, the box inside pops up into a mini side table – the element of surprise being used to create a lasting, emotional connection.

30% of consumers say that a catalogue recently drove them online to shop, and that’s without this added memorable feature. Investing in engineering something that will ship flat but then pop up when opened is a great way of putting a twist on your usual direct mail campaign.


3.    Fairways

(Source: Behance)


Interactive mailers are a great, memorable way of standing out from competitors. When Cypriot car importers, Fairways, were moving showrooms, they didn’t want to just send any old leaflet with the new address on – they wanted to do something a little more unique…

Printed on brown, recycled card, recipients were encouraged to cut out the net and create their own moving van. Similar to our recent Christmas tree cut-outs, this idea makes the recipient take action to make the message extra memorable.

To recreate this look for your own direct marketing campaign, we’d recommend using Kraft flyers to enhance your design.


4.    Breeze Excel

(Source: Crooked Brains)


Sending out free samples in your mail is a common theme for successful direct mail. Breeze Excel took it one step further and sent two – they wrapped a t-shirt around the box and popped a product sample (laundry detergent) inside. 

During transit, the t-shirt became stained and dirty. This encouraged recipients to use the sample to clean the t-shirt and make it wearable again – which, in turn, showed off the detergent’s effectiveness.


5.    WVRST

(Source: Ad Forum)


When German beer hall, WVRST, opened their doors in Toronto, they needed a way to invite people to their grand opening. Using humour, they used custom printed t-shirts and wrapped them up to look like sausages.

If you’re looking to do something similar but not sure who to include on your mailing list, WVRST chose to send theirs to food critics, bloggers and other social media influencers who they knew would be able to get the word out. 

Having a clear call to action is as important as standing out. WVRST also included a branded invitation to the event so it was clear what the aim of this mailer was.


6.    HelloFresh

(Source: AccuData)


There’s a lot to love about HelloFresh’s ultra-personalised approach to direct mail. As well as offering an incentive and using a friendly, ‘chatty’ tone of voice, they also send a recommend recipe based on past purchases. 

All these different elements combine to create irresistible marketing. They’ve literally used every sales weapon in their arsenal but combined it with a ‘real’ voice. Without this balance, the mailer would be off-putting to recipients. Personalisation prevails again!

If you want to send out recipes or special offers to customers, there are two main things to include:
•    A letter printed on your personalised letterhead with your business’ address and logo on
•    A postcard or flyer insert with details of the offer on


7.    The Shop

(Source: Ads of the World)


If you want to add some shock factor to your direct marketing campaign, why not follow in Dallas-based agency, The Shop’s, footsteps and go miniature. Of all the marketing Christmas cards their customers received, we’re pretty sure this was the tiniest!

You can recreate this look with our folded business cards. Just add your message inside and check it’s still readable while you’re creating your greetings card design, and you’re good to go. Send them at Christmas, customer anniversaries or even to say thank you.



8.    Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse

(Source: Direct Paper)


It could be argued that we’ve saved the most fun direct marketing example until last. When Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse asked Rethink for a direct mail flyer, they came up with the idea of target not only the owner, but the cat as well.

By spraying each flyer with catnip, there was something in it for both! And to top it off, they created a video filled with the cats’ responses to the catnip mail.

Although hard to replicate, this is a perfect example of ‘lumpy mail’. This buzzword essential means popping something unique and attention-grabbing in with your mailer. Doing something completely different can be risky, but if you get it right it can be the thing that gets your business’ name out there.


In conclusion… What a lot of these campaigns have in common is that they add extra value for the customer. It’s not just a leaflet – it’s a cut-out moving van, or it’s not just a booklet, it’s a mini side table.

Now you’ve been inspired by these fantastic examples, it’s time to start thinking about your own direct marketing project. We’d love to see your finished print creation. Make sure to tag us on social media using @instantprintuk or #instantprintuk for a chance to be featured on our channel!


About the Author

Hi! I’m Jennie, and I’m the eCommerce Manager at instantprint. I'm passionate about creating the best website experience for our customers.