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case studies
28 . 02 . 24

Mr & Mrs Smith achieve impressive advertising return and Award

Words by: Print Power
Celebrating two decades in luxury travel in the UK, Mr. & Mrs. Smith has established itself as a symbol of unparalleled wanderlust experiences. Despite its esteemed status, previous direct mail campaigns fell short of expectations. The challenge was evident: demonstrate the profitability of this channel while preserving the brand's aspirational allure for both active and lapsed clientele.

PSE Offline Marketing won with this case the UK DMA Gold Award
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Case at a glance 

  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a prominent luxury travel brand, has been experiencing underwhelming results from previous direct mail campaigns. The challenge was to demonstrate the profitability of this marketing channel.
  • The agency and the client developed a targeted approach, leveraging customer analytics to tailor content and maintain brand values. 
  • The campaign departed from traditional methods, presenting content in an engaging 8-page newspaper format for a more immersive experience. 
  • The campaign yielded a remarkable Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) of 35:1.

Through a collaboration between the agency – PSE Offline Marketing- and the client, a meticulous strategy emerged. Extensive customer analytics guided the identification of the target audience and tailored content, ensuring alignment with the brand's ethos. 

Breaking free from traditional constraints, the creative execution embarked on a daring venture. Departing from conventional brochures, an immersive 8-page newspaper format was introduced, elevating engagement to new heights. 

The results were remarkable. Achieving a Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) of 35:1 exceeded all expectations, solidifying direct mail as an indispensable facet of the marketing mix for Mr. & Mrs. Smith. 

Outline of Strategy 

In the luxury travel industry, aspirational imagery is ubiquitous yet often fails to forge emotional connections to the brand itself. Mr. & Mrs. Smith, however, distinguishes itself from others, aiming to resonate with both active and lapsed customers. 

Utilising existing customer behavioral insights, the database was segmented between active members and potential "win back" opportunities and further segmented into three main observations. 

  1. A split between customers booking only UK breaks versus those spending considerably on overseas breaks required tailored content to engage and make each feel recognised and valued. 
  2. Recognising the impact of timing on buying behaviour, with almost 50% of January bookings traditionally occurring before Easter, the content reflected this while enhancing the brand's reputation for luxurious travels.
  3. Two distinct audiences – 45+ affluent families in larger houses alongside well-paid 20 to 30-year-olds in rented or shared accommodation in cities. This in-depth analysis and propensity model pin-pointed the most lucrative segments and creative tailored accordingly. 
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Creative Approach and Execution 

The creative brief aimed for a piece evoking emotional travel sentiments without resorting to traditional January peak "sale and hard sell" tactics, understanding the discerning nature of the Mr. & Mrs. Smith clientele. 

Leveraging JICMAIL insights indicating a travel mailing's average interaction of 4.6 times, a lasting impression was sought, with the piece serving as a coffee table fixture. 

The mailing aimed to drive bookings and cater to four key segments—Active, Lapsed, Younger, and Older. Using the client's in-house studio, a content plan was devised based on insights. This included a mix of shorter breaks and longer stays, featuring both UK and overseas destinations, all presented in an immersive manner to resonate with customers. 

To differentiate from competitors, the outer envelope boldly declared, "HOTEL LOVERS ONLY ASK ONE QUESTION… BUT IS IT A SMITH HOTEL?" Inside, recipients found an 8-page newspaper titled "Room Service," a departure from conventional brochures. Aspirational content showcased the Top 9 places to visit in 2023, styled after a Sunday Supplement, enticing readers to explore further on the website and make bookings. 

Campaign Success and Results 

The synergy of an insight-driven strategy and inspirational creativity rendered this campaign a monumental success. Leveraging insights, recipients were precisely targeted, and content tailored accordingly. The standout piece crafted by the creative team epitomised the distinction between a standard hotel and a Smith hotel, encapsulating the essence of Mr. & Mrs. Smith's brand identity. 

The results were staggering. Achieving a response rate of 1.59% and an exceptional ROAS of 35:1 vastly exceeded expectations. The communication's editorial style, the content, and allure of customer aspiration sufficed to drive bookings significantly, solidifying direct mail's integral role in the brand's marketing arsenal.