Twinings Acquires Customers With Free Samples
I've never been much of a tea drinker. Sure, I like a cup of Earl Grey every once in a while, but coffee is my morning beverage of choice. So when I read on Twitter that Twinings North America, a division of the U.K.-based tea giant, was offering free samples, I was probably more professionally than personally intrigued.
I went to Twinings’ website to check out the "Any 3 Free" sample program. It's a good thing I didn't hesitate; as it turns out, it was a limited-time offer. The Twinings Pantry page began with a welcome: "We have over 50 distinct and mouthwatering varieties for you to enjoy." Beneath it was a photo spread of some of the blends in its boxes.
Underneath that lineup was a simple form, where I picked three teas from a menu, then provided my name, postal and email addresses, date of birth, and gender. I also opted to sign up for "Tea-Mail" email offers. Then I waited.
The first email I got thanked me for being "part of the Twinings family." Next to a photo showing three of the company's teas was a text panel with a simple, limited-time offer for free shipping on products ordered online. This was the "gift" mentioned in the short subject line.
Here's an interesting note about that text block. Around it was an airmail envelope-like vertical striped border, a clever way for Twinings to reinforce its identity as a British brand. The company has been in existence for over 300 years, as noted by its logo, which also includes the Royal Warrant of Appointment. In the U.K., the Royal Warrant of Appointment — the use of the royal coat of arms and the phrase "By Appointment of … " — isn't treated lightly. Granting one is a long process, so the seal conveys prestige and exclusivity (a major copy driver) and can very often drive sales.
A few weeks later, the samples package arrived. Measuring 5-3/4" x 10-1/2", the tri-fold, wafer-tabbed self-mailer announces on the front: "Your Complimentary Samples Have Arrived" next to the Twinings’ logo. The mailer fully opens to measure a whopping 10-1/2" x 15-3/4." Spot-glued to the third panel down were the three "flavours" I ordered on the website, each individually wrapped as they would be straight out of a box.
The top two panels thank the consumer for ordering the three samples and show a clear tea cup (with a steeping tea bag inside) underneath a selection of eight of the company's teas. There's a box with an offer for 15 percent off online orders, again for a limited time only.
My only quibble? There's no coupon included for use at a brick-and-mortar store, which is usually included in direct mail packages that include free samples. The purpose of mailing samples is to convert the recipient into a customer. With three choices in this case, those odds are even better. But aside from ordering online (with a discount), there's no incentive offered to gain immediate satisfaction, like another cup of tea. Otherwise, the whole campaign was quite persuasive. I'm hooked.