Paper coupons are cool again

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The mailbox has gotten to be a pretty lonely place. But a growing group of marketers is discovering that all that room means it’s a great spot to get consumers’ attention. After all, email can get labeled as spam. Online ads can get hit with blockers and marketers need permission to text consumers. 

“The one avenue that’s still open is postal mail,” said Neil O’Keefe, senior vice president of customer relationship management and content with the Data and Marketing Association.  

While they may have taken a little break, coupons, the paper kind that travel by snail mail, are making a comeback. Last year, marketers spent $44.9 billion on direct mail. But today’s coupons are nothing like your mother’s Valpak. More and more consumers checking their mailboxes today are finding offers from new, upscale brands meant to tempt upscale, urban millennials — deals like $20 off a Lyft ride or $50 off a Casper mattress. And they’re fancy, multiple offers showing up together in glossy black envelopes, the size of wedding invitations. O’Keefe said paper mail can tempt us in a way email doesn’t. He pulls out a classic example, an offer he recently received from Charles Tyrwhitt, a British maker of men’s clothing.

“This is something that you don’t throw away quickly,” he said. 

Printed on cream-colored paper with robin’s egg blue metallic ink, the coupon looks almost like a savings bond. 

“They’ve made it look valuable, right? And it is,” he said. “It’s $35 off a $100 shirt. That’s real savings.”

The company said the purpose of its classy coupon is to say thank you to…

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