Earlier this year, I was approached by the company Chatham Worth and tasked with creating a mailer to promote a new product they were carrying. Chatham Worth is a Dallas-based firm that both sells and installs lots of commercial construction products ranging from those cool no-touch hand dryers and high-end, custom bathroom partitions to projection screens and flagpoles. The owner, Ben Baume, wanted to introduce the wonders of Claridge porcelain marker walls to potential clients. It sounded like fun to me.

So what’s so cool about these marker walls? Have you ever been in a business meeting and used an old, worn out marker board? It’s not quite white anymore. There are traces of green, blue and red all over it from meetings longs since ended. All the scribbles and notes from years gone by are sitting there for all time like a faded corporate tattoo. And try erasing something you just wrote! It only adds to the layered mess. Put simply, Claridge marker walls don’t ghost like that. They’re manufactured with a porcelain coating which is totally non-porous. In other words, they’ll look pristine for years to come.


But wait, there’s more! These marker walls also come with ridiculously strong magnetic properties. Using a heavy-duty magnet you could probably stick a copy of War and Peace to that marker wall—or maybe the summer intern? At any rate, it’s a great feature that allows you to hang things on the marker wall without applying damaging adhesives or push pins.

Originally, Ben and I discussed creating a custom brochure about Claridge marker walls and mailing it to architectural firms, law practices and other large corporate clients. But the more we talked about it, the more we decided we needed something that would really “stick" with people (pun intended). To boot, Ben only needed 50-100 mailers and the minimum quantity for anything printed is generally 500 pieces. That's a lot of leftover brochures. Then I suggested doing a three-dimensional mailer in order to get a physical sample of the material into the hands of the recipients. Ben loved the idea and we now had a solid direction.

Early sketch of the mailer exterior with proposed box and sleeve.

Early sketch of the mailer interior showing all of the proposed pieces.

After some initial concepting, rough sketches and copywriting work, the client really liked the direction. However, there was one big problem; my grandiose idea was coming in way over budget. Oops.

At that point we rethought the way to deliver these pieces to the audience. First, we scaled down the number of elements in the mailer. Second, we substituted a cool-looking, off-the-shelf envelope for the custom box I first envisioned. In the end, the mailer consisted of a glossy, padded envelope, two digitally printed pieces (one exterior sticker with messaging and one interior sheet with more information about the product), a magnetic business card, a branded mini dry-erase marker, and a piece of Claridge marker wall.

The result of the project was a mailer that really makes its mark using smart messaging, unexpected promotional items and off-the-shelf elements.