September 20, 2012

Mid-Month Email Menagerie - September 2012

by Jim Davidson, Manager of Marketing Research

Welcome to the September edition of the Mid-Month Email Menagerie containing the most attention grabbing or head scratching emails I have seen over the past few weeks. Two highlights are included for each category in this post and more than 40 more examples are included in the full 27 page "Mid-Month Menagerie September 2012 Report."

The report covers the following categories:

  • Behold the Fold: Eye-catching use of the above the fold area of an email
  • Promotions, Processes, and Peeves: Interesting promotions, various subscriber experiences, and personal annoyances
  • Composition Exhibition: Designs that standout not always for the right reasons
  • Animation Station: Various uses of animated gifs in emails

Let's get to it!

Behold the Fold

spiky horchow mirror - Email Marketing Above the Fold

Contrasting colors, textures and patterns can be an effective creative strategy, but this Horchow email with the subject line “Super-easy update: Super-chic pillows & throws” and “comfy” hero copy features a spikey mirror that looks like it could give you a rough splinter. The first thing subscribers see is definitely not soft or comfy. Seeing the mirror first without the contrasting comfy pillows made for a confusing first impression.


Athleta yoga pose flipping off - Email Marketing Above the Fold





My first thought when I opened this Athleta email was “Why is Athleta flipping me off?!?” Ends up it’s just a basic yoga pose… unlike August’s insanely advanced pose.




Promotions, Processes and Peeves

Fingerhut Frankenstein Day Email Marketing

Fingerhut sent a “Happy Frankenstein Day” email on August 30th along with a recipe for a “Frankenstein Smoothie.” While not directly tying into any particular product or promotion, the email does help keep Halloween top of mind for shoppers. Yes, “Frankenstein Day” is a real thing. It occurs every year on August 30th to commemorate Mary Shelley’s birthday. is a great place to find these unusual holidays. Did you know that October 4th is National Taco Day and National Vodka Day???



Dunkin Donuts Mistake Email MarketingDunkin Donuts Apology Email Marketing


Dunkin Donuts mistakenly sent an email to an audience wider than the intended New England based segment.  A playful apology email quickly followed explaining the error.  Remember, always keep a flexible, easy-to-edit template, like this one from Dunkin Donuts, on hand to help get your apology emails out in a timely manner.  Ironically, apology emails often see higher engagement and conversions than the original email.  In addition to explaining the mistake, letting the customer know when it will be fixed, and any make-good, include links to shop and you may drive some additional sales!


Composition Exhibition

Bergdorf Goodman Boot Email Marketing

There are some brands you can tell dedicate time and resources to produce beautiful email designs. In my opinion, Bergdorf Goodman is one of those brands. This minimalistic email features a standard product show of a pair of interestingly shaped $1,900 boots. Only the top of the boot is immediately visible requiring the opener to scroll down to see the bottom of the boot. This lets the opener understand the scale of the boot length and then the reveal of the interestingly composed base of the boot. As someone who opens a ton of marketing messages, I found this to be a unique product experience helping me to understand how the boot was built.


CompUSA Skip this Page Email Marketing




CompUSA let the “72 Hour Extravaganza” do the heavy lifting in this email by including a call-to-action to “Skip this page…. See the deals” before showing any products and price points. This could be an effective way to get people onto the site, however, over time this could begin to devalue the content of the actual email by making it “skippable” in the minds of subscribers.

Animation Station

Container Store Animated Shelf Email MarketingThe subject line of this Container Store email was “Wish you could magically transform your space?” The answer is revealed by using animation when the email is opened.

A blank Container Store Animated Shelf Sliced Email Marketingroom is shown and the animation builds to include the empty shelving product and finally items displayed on the shelves. This helps the subscriber to understand where and how they could use the product not just than all shelves are 25% off. Also notice that the animation is sliced away from the rest of the email. (screenshot to the right) Separating these sections decreases the number of colors required in the animated gif resulting in a better quality animation.

(Click to view animation.)

Nasty Gal Dancing Animation Email Marketing
Nasty Gal emails are a party in your inbox. They will always be fun when you open them up. They also use animation 
often and usually very effectively. I featured some 3D animated images they used in a previous report. The email on the left shows a few frames of the model dancing. The dance begins and ends with the model’s arms on her side which makes for smooth looping of the animation.



Hope you enjoyed this collection from the 4,800 or so emails I opened and clicked during the last month.  Download the full, 27-page Mid-Month Menagerie September 2012 Report containing more than 40 other examples.

Mid-Month Email Menagerie Archives:

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

Jim Davidson
Manager of Marketing Research at Bronto

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Jim Davidson, Manager of Marketing Research

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