Starbucks Via Mailer

This Direct Mail Piece from Starbucks Got Me Excited

If you’ve been paying any attention to Starbucks, then you know they’ve been advertising much more than they did back in the 1990s and early 2000s. They’re running ads on TV, partnering with The Voice, and even sending out direct mail. Yes, direct mail!

How do I know? Because I’m apparently on their direct mail list. Just yesterday, I got a shiny red envelope in the mail with the Starbucks logo on the outside. It was the size and shape of a greeting card. And when I felt the envelope, I could hear what sounded a little bit like glitter.

Hmmmm… I don’t think Starbucks would put glitter in an envelope. That’s super annoying anyway. Who wants glitter all over their floor and counters when they open an envelope?

I was a little bit suspicious, so I got close to the trash can and very CAREFULLY opened the envelope. Inside was a tri-fold card advertising VIA instant coffee and a coupon.

Guess what else was in there? A sample packet of VIA had been affixed to the back of the card. Problem: The packet had burst open and there was coffee dust filling the envelope.

Apparently, the letter had been run through a sorting machine at the post office, which had squeezed the packet and blown out its contents on one side.

Starbucks Via Mailer

The Starbucks envelope and back of the tri-fold card with VIA packet affixed.

Starbucks Via Mailer Envelope

Look closely and you can see the coffee grounds in the bottom of the envelope.

Lumpy mail can often be quite effective because it virtually guarantees your mail piece will get opened. But if the pieces aren’t handled properly at the post office, well… the whole thing can backfire spectacularly.

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. No hard feelings toward Starbucks, by the way. Overall, it was a good direct mail piece. Plus, I like VIA and use it when I go camping in the summer. Have some in my kitchen cabinets right now.

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Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a freelance copywriter, list manager, and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

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