Is door drop advertising underappreciated in the UK?

Mark Davies

If some mischievous magazine were to dream up an award for the least sexy UK advertising medium, it’s a fair bet that the door drop category would figure among the entries.

Everyone knows what I mean. Simple pieces of paper or cardboard simply slotted through the letterbox bearing an advertising message or offer. No clever QR or NFC codes, immediate links to the web or other fun interactive capabilities. Not even a hint of personalisation.

Yet in other parts of Europe the door drop channel is an important element in advertisers’ media selection. According to the latest figures from the European Letterbox Marketing Association, in Denmark it accounts for 15 per cent of advertising expenditure, in Finland 11 per cent and in France nearly 10 per cent. The contrast with the UK’s relatively tiny 1.5 per cent is quite startling.

Clearly there will be some structural reasons for this disparity and yet to my mind one of the key factors is perception. In the UK, media agencies (not advertisers, interestingly) tend to see door drop as simply unaddressed direct mail, and therefore probably the least impactful, engaging and sophisticated of all today’s advertising channels.

However research figures and campaign achievements suggest that in reality door drop forms a unique combination of broadcast and targeted medium, providing brand standout, reflected consideration and instant response.

With 99 per cent of UK households covered, including all those homes not on lists, doordrop can truly reach every sector of the marketplace, while the use of intelligent analytics and geo-demographic targeting ensures effective regional and national marketing campaigns.

Research from the Royal Mail showed that 89 per cent of the audience remembered receiving a door drop while 90 per cent were happy to receive door drop from retailers, followed by FMCG brands. Furthermore Experian research discovered that for 52 per cent of people door drops were the most important source of research into purchases, leaving the internet, at 24 per cent, a long way behind.

Major advertisers understand these benefits, with 80 per cent of the top 100 advertisers regularly using the medium. When BSkyB sent out a door drop in the form of a racing driver’s helmet, to launch its Sky Sports F1 channel, it achieved a response almost 50 per cent higher than any previous Sky Sports or HD campaign. Kellogg’s cereal door drop for its All-Bran Golden Crunch gained a 48 per cent opt-in against a target of 30 per cent, and door drop is now established as one of Specsavers’ top-performing media channels, after regularly delivering consistent results.

As is evident from our website idoordrop.com, door drop already has a fine track record in working with other media channels, from TV to magazines to digital, to deliver more impactful and effective advertising. Now creative, media and digital agencies need to see door drop as a normal part of the UK’s mainstream media and regularly include it in their media thinking and conversations.

Mark Davies is managing director of TNT Post Doordrop Media

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