The Curious Invitation

WJ Agency

If we ask, “What’s your favourite pair of words in English?”, one of the last things we’d expect you to say would be “direct mail”. But hey – we deal with direct mail all the time in the marketing world. And as creatives, we’re always up for the challenge of turning those ten drab letters into something much more exciting.

Services Used

  • Creative Services
  • Media Buying & Advertising
  • Social Media Management
  • Strategy & Planning
  • Web & Interactive
  • Content Marketing

The story of our story

In 2021, we were getting ready to send out our annual holiday cards, but the thought of making some basic bifolds had us feeling like we drank too much eggnog. We wanted and needed something more – something that could stand alone, figuratively and literally. Something that drew the eye, even in a busy room. Something that could outlast the Great Christmas Card Purge that was sure to happen in a hungover haze on the morning of January 2. 

So, we thought, what’s worth looking at again and again? Stories, books, and pretty pictures are all solid bets. Why not combine all three? Enter the idea for the award-winning direct mail campaign, The Curious Invitation: Braving the Unknown.

Drawing on all our talents

Focusing all our creative energy, we considered two different angles when putting pen to paper. The first was for our clients: we created a story that was a shameless allegory of the journey they’d take with us, and why they shouldn’t be afraid of a few twists and turns along the way. The other angle was for everyone else – and it made sure this entire project could be enjoyed by anyone. Like the kids of our clients, who got a joyful kick out of the new bedtime story that just magically arrived in the mail one day.

We commissioned custom illustrations to bring the story to life, infusing a fun and whimsical art style that popped off the page. Then, in addition to printing out the physical books, we also launched animated, scrollable versions on our site and social profiles.

Once the books were printed, we set them in specially designed boxes and bindings, along with a customized card. These were mailed out to clients and friends, and the response was amazing – we got many photos of people reading to their kids or displaying the books in a place of honour among other cards.

At the 2022 Anvils, this project picked up three awards (Direct Marketing, Illustration Series, and Business-to-Business) as well as a Merit Award for Craft Illustration. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even write a sequel one day…