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NATIONAL MAIL ORDER ASSOCIATION

 Award Winning Direct Mail Letters from 1942 

...with scores of adaptable ideas!

This exhibit is sponsored by

Sure You Can Write Great Sales Letters
A guide to getting through the "bale of mail" people are receiving daily. From Bob Westenberg, an outstanding letter-writing specialist who has had nearly half a century of experience at producing results for clients of all kinds.
 
Reproduced here is the magnificent portfolio called "20 Winning Letters" circulated by Prentice-Hall, Inc. in 1942.  Numbers One, Two, and Three won the first, second, and third prizes in a Better-Letter Contest initiated by Business Ideas Service.  The other seventeen letters won honorable mention in the order shown.

We hope you will find profitable use for the resourcefulness and originality contained in these outstanding examples of good salesmanship.  The editors' comments will help you by pointing out the salient features of each letter.  Some of the letters revolve around the dominant issue of that day, World War II.  Perhaps you will be able to identify a major theme of this day and age and use it as effectively.

Read the full text of each of these motivating missives by clicking on the thumbnail image.

 
 
 

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Paxton-Mitchell Company thumbnail

1
A goodwill letter par excellence.   Sincere, man-to-man thanks for a job well done.  Particularly adaptable now.  The third paragraph really hits home.

 

Juster Brothers thumbnail

2
An interesting personalization that flatters the recipient. Generally adaptable by any retailer.  Produced by the Krieg Letter Service, Minneapolis, Minn.

 

Down Beat Publishing Company, Inc. thumbnail

3
An amusing illustration that ties in closely with the sales message which is worded in a brief, to-the-point style.

 

PurePac Corporation thumbnail

4
A light touch that produced sales when previous letters failed.   Brevity scores again here.  Return post-paid envelope facilitates replies.

 

Yankee Metal Products Corp. thumbnail

5
Writing unadorned by any "trick" phrases.  Result: seven $500 contracts.  Original letter, including drawings, was mimeographed.

 

American Nature Association thumbnail

6
Effective use of contrasting themes.  From start to finish the letter draws a clear mental picture.  Closing sentence smoothly hurdles the cost angle.   Enclosures were a renewal subscription invoice, a postpaid envelope and a descriptive leaflet.

 

May Brothers thumbnail

7
Clever personalization combined with good copy.  Results were 22% on a list of 700 inactive customers.  Produced by The John E. Wolf Co., Oklahoma, Okla.

 

Burgess-Beckwith Inc. thumbnail

8
Another good example of a word-and-picture hookup.  A striking letterhead, a skillful introduction and a neat, complimentary close.

 

Goldwaters thumbnail

9
Interesting use of "local color."  Original figures were handdrawn in red ink.  Adaptable by small retailers whose past-dues are not too numerous.

 

Goodall Rubber Company thumbnail

10
Generally adaptable by concerns doing war work.  Hits three ways: thanks old customers, invites new customers to place orders and boosts the company's product.  Good opening and closing paragraphs.

 

Robinson Tag & Label Company thumbnail

11
A short-and-snappy sales letter that brought results.  "Reading Time: 40 seconds" compels attention.  A smart feature is the directive on the envelope, "To the Man Who Does the Buying."  Samples of tags and labels were enclosed in a small glassine envelope.

 

Choctaw Culvert & Machinery Co. thumbnail

12
Clever use of an "old saw" by a priority-bound company.   This will bring chuckles from frustrated customers and promote goodwill.

 

DeLong hook & Eye Company thumbnail

13
A "straight" goodwill letter.  Directed primarily to new customers, this letter lets them down gently.  Well-written and friendly.

 

Foto-Lith Inc. thumbnail

14
Smart use of an effective illustration combined with smoothly conversational copy.  Original letter was page one of a colorful 4-page descriptive folder.

 

Borg-Warner Corporation thumbnail

15
Interest-provoking,  timely, and generally adaptable.  The portfolio letter is offset, with the censored words screened.  In the original letter, slightly transparent ink (necessitating a double run) made the censored words visible.

 

State Mutual Life Assurance Company thumbnail

16
Fold-over map catches attention and ties in with well-written copy. This is a good example of an old theme in a new dress.

 

CS Co thumbnail

17
At first glance individually handwritten, this letter photo-offset on personal sized stationery attracted men and women customers to an Easter sale.  Name of each customer was inserted by same person who wrote the original letter, thus insuring perfect matching.

 

Baskin thumbnail

18
Original letter bore a clipped-on one inch swatch of woolen fabric in box indicated.

 

Burgess-Beckwith, Inc. thumbnail

19
Unusual use of heading tie-in highlights this smoothly written preliminary letter to direct mail prospects.

 

Popular Science Monthly thumbnail

20
Here is one case where it paid to "cut corners."  Effective makeup and strong tie-in with an attention-getting device.  Generally adaptable.

 

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