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A memorable mailout

Former magazine art director turned photographer, Clint Davis, knows a thing or two about how easy it is to ignore self-promoting mail-outs from freelancers. So he needed a way to make sure his potential clients gave him a shot. Here is how he did it...

“Without advertising, something terrible happens – nothing!”
So said entrepreneur and founder of the Greatest Show on Earth, circus owner PT Barnum. And he’s right – but sometimes it feels that no matter how hard you try, getting potential clients to look at your work feels like you’re whispering during a World Cup football match. Which is exactly why I decided to create a Trojan Horse of self promotion, something that couldn’t be ignored, overlooked or even worse, thrown away unopened.

Before I became a photographer, I was an art director for national magazines, and I received a huge amount of promotional mailers from aspiring photographers. Almost all of these played it totally safe – a generic 4x6” postcard with a picture on one side, and an address printed on the other. Dull, impersonal and often ratty by the time they’d been through the mail system, these very rarely caught my attention. My main objective was to send something that wouldn’t end up as trash – at least, not for a while. Which is why I create the Clint Davis Self Promotion Box! It’s hard to ignore a box full of stuff, isn’t it? And I don’t know about you but when I get a box in the mail with a hand-written address, a slow fuzzy feeling comes over me. I lean over to the box and think “You, good box are coming back to my desk for a thorough dissection”. Am I right?

Considering the calibre of ad agencies, magazine photography editors, athletic teams, and select others that I planned to send my mail-out to, making it un-ignorable was a tall order. But by building my package around the slogan “Give me a shot”, I believe I might just have reached my goal!

Everything from the dimensions of the boxes, size of the stickers, color of the camera, size of the camera, color of the stamps, dimension of the print holder, size of the foam packaging, which pictures to use had to be worked out to the finest detail. After an endless amount of virtual measuring and imagination, I pulled the trigger and ordered everything you see above. I practically modeled my entire mail-out around the slogan “GIVE ME A SHOT”. Sending out shot glasses to possible clients wasn’t really a wise option, so I decided to place stickers printed with this slogan on disposable cameras. In return I hope to see some cool pictures!

Additional little foam bits were glued in to hold the camera snugly inside the box. Each mail-out comes with a personalised note. When testing the boxes on my arty neighbors, I noticed they had a hard time opening the plastic card box. So on each note I included a diagram on how to open it. Problem solved.

I couldn’t send out plain white boxes, instead I stamped each box with my logo, address, and “Emergency Photo Kit” on the inside flap. The personalised notes were then taped to the inside.

And of course, my MOO Business Cards… What would I do without you for this project? They’re practically the centerpiece of my mail-out – where would a photographer be without a card that shows off his work? The quality is top notch, and the option of printing up to 50 different looking cards in one order is perfect for my project. Here they are stacked and ready to be sorted into each mailer.

I ordered 400 total cards, displaying 40 different images. I included 8 per box, but these were not distributed randomly. I targeted each market, and gave them cards that I believe matched their interests – in the case of a cycling company I included photographs of cycling! Every mail-out contains a unique set of cards in a hard plastic case. Each MOO card has my contact info on the back, and for good measure I included my personal business card. My creativity, and MOO’s budget friendly service and brilliant personalisation turned a small idea into a 3-month long project. Now I feel confident with what I’ve sent out to my prospective clients, and fingers crossed, they’ll give me a shot!

Clint Davis is MOO's blogging competition winner in the Inspiration category.

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