"Everything which would ordinarily go into the waste paper basket after use"

Flyers

The house painter’s flyer

House painter's flyer

The thing that caught my eye with this flyer from John’s Painting Group is how the ‘Before and After’ photos of the house on the reverse side look suspiciously as if they have been created in Photoshop.

House painting before and afterOh, if only house painting was as simple as adjusting a brightness slider on a computer screen. We could all do it then and what is, in reality, a laborious and tedious job would be all over in seconds.

Of course, it is always possible that John’s Painting Group really did paint the outside of this house and, in the process, managed to simultaneously brighten the sky and lighten the dark shadows creeping across the lawn.

If that is the case then what is truly remarkable here is that John not only managed to take his photos at the same time and on the same day (a year apart presumably, giving him time to actually do the painting) so that the shadows match exactly, but that he also managed to capture identical clouds in the sky.

That is an impressive feat, almost miraculous one might say, and just one reason why John should be entrusted with not only painting the house but many other difficult tasks as well – such as combating climate change, eradicating world poverty and getting passengers to remain seated until the seatbelt sign has been turned off.

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The Thai restaurant menu

Thai restaurant flyer

A recent letterbox drop reveals that the age-old combination of Thai restaurants and punny names continues to hold sway.

This is what happens in a congested market where there is little to separate the products on offer – similar menus, very keen pricing. Everything hinges on creating that snappy, instantly memorable brand name that will cut-through all the competing noise.

Hence the proliferation of jokey Thai names – Thai-tanic, Thai-foon, Thai-riffic etc – which probably reached its peak (or nadir depending on your point of view) in the late 80s and early 90s.

Does it work as a marketing tactic? Well, these places are still in business although I would hazard a guess that the more upmarket places these days wouldn’t touch a pun with a satay stick.

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The shed flyer

Shed brochure

Ooh look. Tractors.

Seriously though… sheds? Delivered to a postbox in an inner city neighbourhood?

Someone’s got their wires crossed. Either that or they’ve been woefully misled.

I suppose it is conceivable that this is all part of a sophisticated marketing plan to diversify into new markets by targeting businesses close to the CBD. Maybe there are many businesses in this area in need of sheds in which to house their tractors. Maybe they just don’t know it yet, in which case this is a very cunning ploy to create demand where none existed previously.

I’m willing to concede all that whilst still maintaining that this flyer looks odd in this context.

As if to confirm my doubts, the nearest agents for these shed sellers are out on the fringes of the city in the semi-rural suburbs where there is an obvious demand for good sheds.

I’m all for spruiking letterbox campaigns as an effective way to reach new customers, but let’s be sensible about this. It would be interesting to know what sort of response they get to it.

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The roofing door hanger

Door hanger

The Green Frog is a regular occupant of the letterbox, usually in the form of fridge magnets which are a type of print, after all.

This is something of a rarity though among contemporary promotional items – a door hanger. Outside of a hotel, I can’t recall having seen one for a long time.

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The rain-soaked flyer

Grocer's flyer

A spell of wet weather can be disastrous for an ill-timed letterbox drop campaign, as can be seen by this grocer’s flyer which arrived just in time for a sudden downpour.

Being safely cocooned inside the mailbox is no guarantee of making it to the recipient in good condition. This one was tucked away inside the box but still received a soaking which resulted in some rather weird things happening to the ink. Ummmm… runny.

Not that the cheery apple in the shopping cart here seems to mind all that much, although I doubt the advertiser was quite so pleased given that any contact details were blurred practically beyond comprehension.

This is the downside of print ‘n’ paper being tactile and organic and real and natural and all those lovely positive things that those nasty dead, cold, alien digital media channels are not. As a medium, print tends to respond to what ever environment it finds itself in – and if that’s a soggy one, well, the effects can be beautiful but rather unhelpful. Fire can also be awkward. Direct light, too, may cause fading in the long run while wind has a habit of redistributing printed matter according to its own particular whims.

In fact just about any interaction with the physical world will have an effect on print, which is why it’s better just to lock it away in a dark place where no-one can see it.

Equally though, there are times when the resilience of paper in the face of adverse weather conditions can be completely unexpected.

Perhaps it is this unpredictable and contrary nature of paper – fragile yet durable, disposable yet also archival – which makes it so beguiling to collectors and other papyrophiles.

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