Make ’em Laugh!

I love to laugh. No, make that, I LOVE to laugh.

I took one look at a jumbo postcard I got from a book publishing company, did a double take, and let out a HOWL of a laugh.


The postcard was sent to get me to visit the company’s booth at the recent Publishing Business Conference in NYC. Boy, did it work.

What got me was three head shots (woman, man, woman), each about the size of a postage stamp, lined up left to right.

These three seemingly staid “corporate headshots” of key employees show the people all sporting identical, thick black mustaches—even the women.

The rest of the postcard was ordinary—design, copy, creative and print—but this zany visual had so much damn ‘curb’ appeal for a direct mail piece that I saved it.

I thought of that song sung by Donald O’Connor in “Singin’ in the Rain.” Here are a few lyrics:

Now you could study Shakespeare and be quite elite
And you can charm the critics and have nothin’ to eat
Just slip on a banana peel
The world’s at your feet
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh

[There a number of clips of the song on Youtube, but it’s copyrighted material.]

To the funny folks at H&H Book Pros in Lancaster, PA, thanks for making me laugh.

The postcard served as a vital reminder: humor is a powerful direct marketing tool. Can you relate? If not humor, what else are you using in your direct mail campaigns that could make such a lasting impression?

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit or e-mail Margie at
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  • michelle

    Margie- i can relate 100%- Last year i finally signed up to take part in a program that the sales rep had been after me to join for months-but she finally sent an email solicitation that really tickled my funny bone and i had to laugh- and consequently SLOWED down and really looked hard at the proposal instead of the "skimming" i usually do-I ended up joining the program and glad i did. I think good humor like your illustration, causes us to do a double take, and sometimes those few extra seconds is all it takes to REALLY sink in and make an impression.

  • MIke

    oh stop…you folks are gonna make us blush :) Thank you for liking this piece. It was the brainchild of Susan (our marketing manager) and Jeff (our creative designer).

  • Elaine Neiss

    Love it too. I’m thinking Mike’s mustache is the real deal, guess you’ll have to go and find out for sure. They hit the nail on the head by grabbing the attention of the recipient. Who wouldn’t take a second look? When sending direct mail you want to get noticed. You only have a few short seconds to capture attention and stand out from the sea of mail. After that a strong call to action is a necessity with a clear message.

  • Brian Rothschild

    @macfixer_1 "Be a Clown, Be a Clown, Be a Clown". Good article!