Wedding Crashers: Is that a Mortgage Company by the Gift Table?

2009 Festival of Media Case Study: Best Targeted Campaign

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This year's Festival of Media, held in Valencia, Spain, honored effective media campaigns from around the globe. MediaWorks has looked at some of the winners, illuminating the insights behind the campaigns and why they worked. This last case study, from Mediacom, won for the Best Targeted Campaign.

Israel's Ha'Poalim Mortgage Bank sent out dozens of wedding crashers to hundreds of weddings in the Tel-Aviv area.
Israel's Ha'Poalim Mortgage Bank sent out dozens of wedding crashers to hundreds of weddings in the Tel-Aviv area.
Crashing a wedding, while wrong, is one thing but crashing a wedding and jamming a piece of junk mail into the bride and groom's gift box ... well that's something entirely different and incredibly risky on behalf of the marketer who dares to try such a thing.

Whether we like it or not we have all become resigned to knowing that our mailboxes and just about every other surface or medium we come in contact with is fair game for advertisers to paste or run ads on making for a very cluttered environment. So in its quest for an entirely uncluttered and non-competitive environment, Israel's Ha'Poalim Mortgage Bank, along with the help of its media agency, WPP's MediaCom, launched Wedding Direct.

On a budget of less than $100,000 Ha'Poalim, over an eight-week period, sent out dozens of wedding crashers to hundreds of weddings in the Tel-Aviv area on Thursdays, the traditional day for weddings in the region, and stuff gift boxes with envelopes. Intended to look like a wedding gift containing cash or a check, the envelopes actually held a congratulations card, an Ikea gift voucher, a personally signed card from the local bank representative wishing them luck and an invitation to meet with the Ha'Poalim mortgage team to discuss the its new special mortgage package for newlyweds.

Risky? Absolutely. Word that a financial institution was crashing weddings and sliding junk mail into gift boxes could have spread like wildfire on the web and created a huge backlash for Ha'Poalim. But the campaign generated a huge response rate with 25% of the couples targeted calling up to schedule appointments and numerous others walking into bank locations with their envelopes in hand.

The wedding crashers stuffed gift boxes with envelopes that contained personally signed cards from the local bank representative wishing them luck and an invitation to meet with the Ha'Poalim mortgage team.
The wedding crashers stuffed gift boxes with envelopes that contained personally signed cards from the local bank representative wishing them luck and an invitation to meet with the Ha'Poalim mortgage team.
"Being the first ever direct mailing to a wedding, we had no idea how things would turn out, but the client backed us on the initiative," said Gilad Kat, director-international at MediaCom Israel. "Our main task was, on one hand, to make sure that every little detail is done in a manner that honors the event and the young couple while managing to create an attractive enough offer that can't go unnoticed."

Smart? Incredibly. Not only did Ha'Poalim have a completely noncompetitive environment to make its pitch in, but most newlyweds tend to be in good spirits when tearing through those envelopes, increasing the chances that the mailer was received positively just at the moment most tend to have house-hunting on the brain.

"The moment in which the message was received is what we call a high-receptivity moment," Mr. Kat said. "The couple is in a situation in which they are eager to open the gifts, so a recorded 100% opening rate was probably achieved, attention to the message is extremely high due to its relevancy both in time and in content, [and] the feeling/perception that this is coming from a guest in your wedding, a friend, all helped."

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