Printing Leaks Need Addressing — Cagle
COMMERCIAL PRINTING has been fighting battles on a couple of fronts recently. One involves direct mail, the other annual reports—both critical turfs.
Last month, we reported on proposed legislation in the Illinois State House of Representatives that could curtail the volume of direct mail pieces via a “Do Not Mail” list, patterned after the national “Do Not Call” registry. Proponents of the proposed law point out that officious-looking mailers—which help campaigns get a foot in the door (or a letter opener through the envelope)—are deceptive to the point that the elderly have complained about being exploited by them.
In a column that appeared in PI Weekly, our e-newsletter (sign up at www.piworld.com), I wrote that despite being sympathetic to the elderly, this is not a reason to put a halt to the most unintrusive one-to-one marketing tool at an advertiser’s disposal. There are other ways to remedy the problem of people getting manipulated by deceptive people, who (mind you) are unlikely to respect any law aimed at reducing deception, anyway. Mail is not to blame; it’s the old “kill the messenger” theory.
For one, how do we determine what is and isn’t a legitimate advertisement for a product or service? Are we criticizing the window dressing (literally) or the content? On the latter count, who is to decide whether, for example, term life insurance or a reverse mortgage is fiscally wise? A recent news report chronicled how the elderly have been duped into parlaying their life savings into retirement programs that do little other than bolster the coffers of those running the programs. But they’re legal. It’s not the vehicle that’s responsible for the new age of manipulation. Stopping direct mail will do little to remedy the problem. But it will do a lot to hurt a multi-billion-dollar industry.