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10 Awesome Direct Marketing Examples 2021

In today’s digital age, traditional direct mail often gets overlooked, favouring some of the more innovative digital marketing forms. However, as this article will illustrate, direct mail marketing can not only be extraordinarily memorable, but could also prove to be a tangible way to help you get your business noticed and remembered amongst a sea of digital content.

When narrowed down, what is this form of strategy, and why is it effective? This form of campaign is a way to connect with your customers in their world, and it often means coming up with some innovative ideas to promote your products and services. It is a popular form because results are measured quite easily and enable your business to:

  • Create new business opportunities
  • Reach specific audiences
  • Improves customer loyalty
  • Targeted with personalised messages
  • Optimise your budget for reaching buyers
  • Increase sales to former consumers.

Whatever type of business you’re in, you want to use your brand’s most effective strategy and personalise it. Your campaign’s response should increase, and see communication with your consumers grow in the form of sales.

As we explore a list of examples of companies who have and do use this approach to connect with their customers, you will discover how well this can work for your brand.

Direct marketing strategies we love

1. Land Rover

Land Rover marketing campaign

Image via Urban River

World-renowned vehicle manufacturers, Land Rover used a novel way to invite customers to the opening of their new Liverpool showroom.

Balloons were put inside boxes and sent to 100 customers. Tags were attached to the balloon strings, which delivered the company’s direct marketing message together with an invite to the event. This is an effective way for a high-end company to reach its target audience while personalising the experience.  

2. Ikea Lack side table

Ikea Lack side table marketing campaign

Image via Ads of the World

If you’re looking for a side table, then Ikea’s a pretty good place to start – especially when they offer innovative little ways to encourage you to buy their products.

Ikea’s Lack side table is a budget affair that is popular with people looking for affordable and practical options. However, their promotion was anything but predictable when a 3D version of the table ‘popped up’ as you opened the magazine insert, which instantly makes it a memorable experience

3. World Water Day

World Water Day marketing campaign

Image via Athens Business Group

For World Water Day, a notice was sent to various companies and the press. The letter inside was a little unusual in that it was only possible to read it when it was held underwater. This was used to hook potential engagement with the issue in a way that was impacting and memorable.

4. Earth Hour

Earth Hour direct marketing

Image via Ads of the World

Designed as a direct mail campaign to raise awareness about the amount of energy we waste when we leave our lights on overnight, The Earth Hour Candle Box was triumphant.

As the candle was pulled out of the box, its design allowed it to simulate lights being switched off. The uniquely packaged candles were sent to CEOs and business leaders to remind them how important this issue is and how they can do their bit.

5. The Perry Process

The Perry Process direct marketing

Image via Urban River

The Perry Process was dreamed up to encourage manufacturing companies to sell their unwanted or excess equipment to the company for cash.

In an effort to ensure that the campaign made these companies sit up and notice, they included fake money inserts, together with a flyer titled ‘Don’t throw away your money’, which also did double duty as a free postcard. 

6. Trillion Dollar Mailer

Trillion Dollar Mailer direct mail campaign

Image via D&AD

Dreamed up by TBW/Hunt/Lascaris agency in Johannesburg, the Trillion Dollar Mailer was so-called because it used the Z$ trillion note as a way to raise awareness of the fact that the Zimbabwean Newspaper had been forced into exile. While they continued to publish their paper, the 55% luxury import duty imposed on sales made it unaffordable for the majority of Zimbabweans.

To bring this issue to light, the agency used the most powerful symbol of Zimbabwe’s collapse, the trillion-dollar note, which was unable to buy anything at all. However, the agency could put it to use by printing the newspaper’s message onto the notes themselves, using the worthless money to make flyers and direct mail and provide a wealth of advertising coverage. 

7. WVRST sausage party

WVRST sausage party marketing campaign

Image via Ad Forum

To get people excited about the grand opening of WVRST, the company utilised a direct mail campaign and designed t-shirts that were packaged as sausages. They then hand-delivered these to food critics, bloggers, and other influencers.

When they unwrapped the butcher’s paper, they found an invite to ‘the sausage party’ printed in the same humorous style as the WVRST posters – adorable little animals being fed into a meat grinder! Impactful, yes! Out of the box, definitely. 

8. Chunky KitKat Mail

Chunky KitKat Mail campaign

Image via Print Power

Direct marketing is often used to promote food products, and chocolate manufacturers Nestle saw this as a way for them to reach their specific audience. In this example, Nestle sent out a mailer made to look like a missed delivery card left by postmen when they’re unable to deliver a parcel.

Their point of difference was that instead of saying that a package couldn’t be delivered, the mailer claimed that the package (KitKat chunky) could not be posted as it was ‘too chunky for your letterbox’. The lucky recipients could exchange their card at their local newsagency for a free KitKat Chunky chocolate bar. For chocolate lovers, this was the perfect way to engage them with the product and put them in a situation where they may buy more than the free one they are given.

9. San Jose blood bank

San Jose blood bank camapign

Image via Ads of the World

Sometimes simple is best, which was undoubtedly the case for San Jose blood bank when they were looking for new donors.

By wrapping a paper ad that encouraged people to give blood around a newspaper with a rubber band, they not only created an image that looked like a tourniquet wrapped around the arm during a blood transfusion, but it also got their message across in a very effective way. The idea was quite impacting and the message clear.

10. Schott Solar’s 20 year warranty

Schott Solar’s 20 year warranty campaign

Image via D&AD

Perhaps one of the most simple but visually effective direct marketing campaigns was for Schott Solar, a company that produced solar panels with a 20-year warranty. 

Their creation included a 20-year warranty calendar which was distributed to solar panel wholesale vendors. As the calendar stuck out 60 centimetres from the wall, it was undoubtedly a novel method to get the message over.


While it may seem a lot of work has gone into these efforts, they have all been created to reach a specific audience for effective engagement with their brand. You don’t have to go to these lengths to contact consumers if it’s not right for your brand, but are you ready to try something new?

  • Captivate your audience– There is no better way to sell your brand than to captivate your audience with a message that they want to hear. While it doesn’t have to mean free chocolate bars or huge ad campaigns, consumers generally like to feel like they are getting something out of the campaign, such as a discount, being part of a loyalty club or being the first to view a product.
  • Maintain the relationships– Once you have been successful, it can be all too easy to let things lie. However, over time consumers can develop an emotional connection with your brand. This customer loyalty needs more reasons to keep returning, whether in the form of a new product or discount.
  • Don’t be subtle– To create the right type of strategy, being subtle will not spur action. Be straightforward with your promotion because if clients know what you’re offering and what you want them to do, you’re going to get a more significant response and more conversions.
  • Make it measurable– Whatever way you choose to create successful outcomes, it must be measurable. Consider how you can track who engaged with your strategies and those who didn’t. What made it successful, what didn’t, were there trends?

Whatever your business is, using innovative and modern direct marketing forms is a great way to elevate your products and services.

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