The main difference between a real horse and a hobby horse is that you can get off a real horse.
And one of my hobby horses is telling the truth in advertising.
That's not a typo.
Telling the truth in direct mail advertising is essential for your long-term credibility.
And long-term viability.
Lying is always wrong, even when it makes you money.
Being straight with your direct mail prospects and customers is essential if you want to keep them.
And nowhere is this more important than on your carrier envelope.
Lose sight of the truth here and you'll lose sight of your customer for good.
As Exhibit A I draw your attention to an envelope mailed to this potential sucker by the nice folks at Reader's Digest.
This envelope is known in the trade as a "faux express courier envelope.
" Faux is French for fake, false, phoney.
The envelope looks and feels like an envelope from a courier company.
It is large.
It is made from heavy card stock.
It is red and blue.
It says: "EXPRESS DAY TIMED DELIVERY" on the front and back.
It says "TIME- SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED.
" This envelope even features the zipper-style opening device, the type found on courier envelopes.
It even features a faux barcode, the type that the courier scans with a handheld scanner when you sign for the package.
The problem with this envelope is that it is a lie.
It was not delivered by a courier.
It is not an "express day timed delivery.
" Just look at the upper right-hand corner and you'll see that this envelope was mailed using Canada Post's discount Addressed Admail postage.
So, what looks like a time-sensitive, confidential document rushed to me by same-day courier is actually a sweepstakes promotion bulk mailed at the cheapest postage possible, and likely mailed to hundreds of thousands of other strangers across the continent.
Which means, in my book, this envelope is a lie.
My advice to Reader's Digest is that they tell the truth from cover to cover, including the cover.
I won't buy from a liar, not more than once, anyway.
As the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
" See the offending article at [http://www.