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FCB Direct's "What's Your Priority?" rate increase program, developed early this year for the U.S. Postal Service, was so successful that part of it was halted because of the volume of response.

"We actually stopped the lead generation program midstream because we couldn't keep up with the sales calls," said David Shinnebarger, manager of worldwide marketing and strategy for the postal service.

The first part of the New York agency's program, to convince shippers to try Priority Mail over Federal Express or United Parcel Service, was a letter to 200,000 CEOs in February announcing the Priority Mail alternative for package shipping in the face of competitors' domestic rate increases.

"We got out of the mail room and into the boardroom as an organization," Mr. Shinnebarger said. "We'd been competing in the mail room for years, and inefficiently. . . . we had a pretty compelling story for officers of companies, and we proved that theory scientifically." The letter generated about 20,000 leads.

The next package was sent to 75,000 shipping decisionmakers; that produced a 27% response rate. Then came outbound telemarketing, and following that would have been the reminder mailing, but that was canceled due to volume.

Print ads also ran touting the price savings.

"Our ad campaign helped build a ton of momentum, and then we used direct mail to sell our products," Mr. Shinnebarger said. "What better success story can you hold out to a package-goods or consumer-goods manufacturer than showing them the effectiveness of direct mail for your own product?"

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