June 18, 2018

Retailers, particularly restaurants, as well as consumers, love gift cards and coupons. The promise of a discounted meal is appealing to many consumers as is a saved gift card to be used for a special occasion or simply a night off from cooking. Let’s take a closer look at a recent mailer from Carrabba’s.

Format: This self-mailer was designed at 8.5” x 14”, folded to 8.5” x 5”.


Design: The inside and outside of the mailer was a solid red which stood out in the mail and there was a photo of delicious looking Italian food on the outside of the mailer. The inside section had a beige section along with a photo of the founders of Carrabba’s and a letter from the owner of the local Carrabba’s. The interesting part about the mailer was the use of a perfed punchout coupon. This is a bit simpler and lower cost than sending an actual gift card. From a production standpoint, it’s easy to personalize the carrier and card together and eliminate the need for matched tipping. A drawback is there is not a noticeable “lump” inside the mailer so the recipient can’t feel the actual gift card like they would if a gift card was tipped on. The production method of gluing created a tear off effect when the end user opens the mailer for the first time. The coupons or gift cards are separated from the original panel and exposed.


Printing and Paper: The stock was heavy enough and it arrived in good condition.

Presentation: Great appeal: between the red background, large Carrabba’s logo and tagline “Your surprise offer awaits inside”, I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.

Purpose: Carrabba’s is trying to drive customers to its restaurants either to dine in, have delivered or carryout.

Offer and Call to Action: The offers were well presented, relevant and valuable. If any of those three best practices were missed, the mailer would not be as effective. The call to action on this piece was very clear: the coupons were for 20% off dine in only and 20% off carryside or delivery. From incorporative the tagline on the front of the mailer to the tagline on the back side “Get Amore, for Less”, to the personal letter from the restaurant owner, this piece really carried the incentive to get to the restaurant. The expiration date was clearly stated on the piece as well, making the call to action a little more timely by adding a sense of urgency to the promotion.


Digital Technology Integration: None but it was not needed. One way of incorporating it could be to include a QR code that took the recipient to their menu or to restaurant specials.

Personalization: None but none was needed. This mailer was sent to residents who live near the restaurant. The tone of the mailer is down to earth and to make us feel comfortable and “like family”. In fact, the letter from the restaurant proprietor suggests the recipient ask for him when they visit the restaurant.

Overall, a solid direct mailer because Carrabba’s kept the text simple while keeping the piece visually interesting.