Tell me about this promo.
At the beginning of the year, the marketing plan was to edit down my email list, go to more portfolio shows, and follow up with printed mailer follow-ups. After getting all my print collateral designed and printed the pandemic hit, and people could no longer meet and no one was at the office.
My initial reaction was to just wait. To pass the time I broke out some puzzles to complete with my wife that were saved from our yearly tradition spending time with friends in a cabin in Tahoe over New Years. We would snowboard in the day time, play drinking games, and dance into the night, but we always had a puzzle in the corner for a quiet semi-social activity whenever we needed to chill.
We quickly completed the few puzzles we had then ordered more of increasing difficulty. I fell in love with the flow state I would get into while finding pieces, analyzing textures, and subtle changes of color. It filled a void I had for visual problem solving, I felt like I was flexing similar muscles as when I retouch photos or mix colors when painting.
I was also fascinated by how I interacted with the image, and learn about the world piecing together. That interaction was what inspired me to create my own puzzle using images that meant a lot to me. It also made sense because so many people that I work with Art Director, Creative Buyers, Producers are visual problem solvers, and I thought sharing this gift would help people relax a little during these stressful times.
Who designed it?
I wanted the packaging to be simple and elegant like a coffee table book. I have just enough of a design background to use InDesign and Illustrator to take the style guide my designer, Joe Lee, created for my brand to create the packaging for these puzzles.
Who printed it?
I tried several companies, and in the process became a bit of a puzzle snob. The first company left a weird metallic residue on my fingers, another company had pieces that didn’t quite snap together the way I liked, another had a varnish that was too shiny. I also was looking for a place I could have total control over the design of the box.
I finally printed puzzles using https://www.createjigsawpuzzles.com/sell/dimalanta
They had a nice blend of all the things I wanted, and they gave me full control to design my template in Adobe Illustrator.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
Prior to Covid I would send out mailers 2-4 times a year. I would generally shortlist people I found that opened or clicked through my emailers. This year the only promos I sent out were in the form of these puzzles. I will get back to my regular schedule when people are back in the office.
How many did you make?
This first batch I had printed 25. The hard part was tracking down people I have worked or have met with because I had to ask for an address I could ship to outside of the office.
Tell me about the images.
The image I used was captured in Lake Como while on vacation with my wife. We had just finished our gelato in the town of Menaggio and took a walk along the lakeside. I chose this image because I wanted to share that calm and content feeling I had when took this photo.
Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Print promos are just another tool in the toolbox. The best thing about print promo is that you have so much control over how the viewer will see the final image — the size, the scale, the texture. It feels finished, tactile and real. Those attributes can hurt you if you aren’t thoughtful about the process, but when it comes together it can be a great extension of your brand.
How did the campaign go?
The response I got was great, I got a few selfies with the box, and a couple of people showed off how quickly they put it together. One person said they aren’t into puzzles, but thought it looked great on their coffee table. So between the response, and the follow-ups needed to get all the right addresses, it was a total success, and I plan to do another round after meeting more people in the various virtual meetings I have been able to attend.