Rolling Meadows, IL—Just two hours before press time on Sept. 17, Stu Zirin, president of $7 million home goods cataloger Silvo Home, called his company’s printer and told his rep to stop the presses. One book into a three-drop fall/holiday mailing plan, and with sales having plunged from 14% above plan to 8% below following the Aug. 28 drop of the first book, Zirin decided to change the front cover of the second catalog. Atop the cover photo of a fireplace, Zirin added an American flag and a dot-whack-like inset promising customers that a portion of every order would be donated to the National Disaster Relief Fund.
Because the change was done digitally, with no film, Silvo was able to go back to press within hours. And while Zirin can’t quantify the effect of the change, as of Oct. 17, the company’s sales had climbed back to within 3% of original projections, which called for a 2% sales increase.
But though he believes that cover’s visible show of patriotism and good will helped boost response, Zirin nonetheless decided to eliminate both from the third drop. “I’m hoping to get back to normal and have a regular holiday season,” he says. “It’s a gift cover where we are displaying a $1,700 electric bicycle. We want people to think there’s a holiday out there, and the flag is more of a reminder of what happened.”