New DMA anthrax awareness campaign tells people it's OK to opendirect mail

NEW YORK: The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is looking beyond

its own medium and implementing a PR campaign to direct marketers and

the general public to assure them of the safety of opening direct-mail

promotions.



Preferring to keep the effort in-house rather than tap project agency

The MWW Group, Louis Mastria, the DMA's director of public and

international affairs, said he has spoken to media outlets including The

New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and others

with his message that it's OK for people to handle their mail. Direct

mail, he said, is a $528-billion-a-year sector.



In addition to making the public and its members aware of the DMA's

guidelines (see sidebar), the DMA is communicating with the US Postal

Service's postal inspection service, consumer groups, bioterrorist

experts, and law enforcement officials so it can alter its response or

issue additional guidelines if needed.



"We're getting near the holiday shopping season, and that's a big deal,"

said Mastria. "We've been lucky; we've gotten a good deal of press

coverage, and our members have responded pretty rapidly."



Mastria said the point he most wants the media to understand is the

substantial difference between the appearance of mail that may contain a

threat and professionally packaged direct mail.



"We're trying to say there is some perspective here," said Mastria. "We

should be vigilant, but I don't think it's appropriate to assume the

mail represents an ongoing threat."



THE DMA'S ADVICE



1. Avoid using plain elements. Instead use envelopes with more

sophisticated printing techniques, like four-color



2. Use a clear, recognizable logo with a corporate address so people

know they are getting something from a reputable marketer



3. Put toll-free numbers and a URL on the front of the envelope so

people can learn more about a company without opening it



4. Consider creating an e-mail or telephone campaign in advance of

direct mail so consumers will anticipate a mailing.



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