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Unboxing Gratitude: Tactive’s Road Trip Themed Client Appreciation Mailer
April 20, 2023

Unboxing Gratitude: Tactive’s Road Trip Themed Client Appreciation Mailer

At Tactive, we enjoy expressing gratitude to our clients with an annual client appreciation mailer. Our 3D Direct Mailer not only serves as a token of appreciation but also an opportunity to showcase our service areas and creativity. Our team works tirelessly to develop the most immersive, excitement-inducing way to impress our customers. This year, we created a road-trip-themed kit that included custom-designed items and thoughtful details that exceeded our customers’ expectations.

In this blog post, we’re thrilled to share the creative process behind this project with you. We aim to inspire you to integrate some of these elements into your branded campaigns and make your clients feel excited, entertained, and valued, too!


We strive to achieve three goals with our annual customer appreciation campaign: express gratitude towards our clients, showcase our capabilities, and generate brand buzz. To accomplish this, our team of creative print and promotional professionals gathers to brainstorm ideas. During the session, we ask ourselves questions such as: Who are our customers? What products are they currently interested in? What trends can we incorporate, and how can we create a storytelling experience with our gift theme?

After exploring various ideas, we found that the “road trip” theme generated the most enthusiasm among our team. This theme would allow us to provide practical and memorable promotional products while highlighting our printing capabilities through booklets, stickers, and a full-sized foldout map. Additionally, we chose to time the delivery of this mailer during Spring Break to maximize its impact.

Pre-Send: Address Captures

One of the most significant challenges of post-pandemic client engagement? Not everyone works in an office anymore! Since many of our customers are working from home, it was important to us that we try to send their gifts where we knew they would receive them. 

We utilized our Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement features to create a custom landing page, form, and back-end automation. Then, we emailed the appropriate links to our customers, asking them to let us know where they’d like to receive their gifts.

The integrations available to us within our Salesforce CRM platform were a seamless way for our team to update addresses and track this campaign. However, for those that may not have access to this type of software, Tactive offers a service called Persktr. We recommend checking it out if list management has been a challenge for your team!

Promotional Items


Shoutout to our friends at Sanmar for helping us find a soft, fashionable t-shirt in the perfect color for this project! We love the District ® Perfect Tri ® Tee for many reasons, but #1 on our list is the fact that the tri-blend fabric comes in 13+ different styles, including ladies’ & youth cuts, long sleeves, and fleece options in matching color-ways. Click here for a rundown of additional styles available in the District ® Perfect Tri ® fabric.

We also tested a new screenprinting process called “reverse printing” on these t-shirts – with great success! The shirt is flipped inside out, and the tonal ink is printed on the inside of the shirt with the intent for it to “bleed” onto the front side of the shirt. The end result is a distressed, worn effect that makes the brand-new shirt look and feel vintage.

Sunglasses + Pouch

We wanted to have a vintage vibe to this package, so we chose a less traditional sunglass shape that is both trendy and different from what most of our clients may have seen already in the promo marketplace. The temples of the sunglasses featuring the Tactive logo were intended to have a retail look with a spot of metallic gold ink.

The full-color, custom-printed sunglasses pouch reflects the sunset design of the interior of the shipping box and doubles as a cleaning fabric for the glasses.

Camera and Travel Book

As Tactive has grown over the past few years, so has our client list. As the parts of this kit came together, we knew it would be important to include a feature item that tied all of the other pieces together. Our first idea was an instant print camera that folks could use to document their journeys. But – buying one for our entire customer list was cost-prohibitive.

We decided that it was more important to say “thanks” to as many of our customers as we could, so we split our recipient list: clients who spent a certain amount with us during the previous year would get the more premium gift, and others would receive an equally useful item that more accurately mirrored their financial relationship with Tactive.

We landed on a road-trip planning book that would help our customers plan their next adventure for the latter.


If the best part of an adventure is the journey, the second best part is the snacks. But which snacks should we include!? Team Tactive held a very informal poll to determine the most popular road-trip nibbles. While there were many answers, the general approach to sustenance on the go was clear: something salty, something sweet.

Albanese is an Indiana-based candy manufacturer who, in our humble opinion, makes the best gummy candies in the world. And Combos are available in every gas station in the U.S. Our only issue was avoiding eating them while packing up the boxes!

Print Pieces

Client Letter

Also known as a “rep letter,” one of the ways we personalize the unboxing experience for each recipient of a campaign is to include a note addressed directly to our customer. We like to get creative with incorporating this piece into the kit.

This year we took the van graphic from the box design and created a die-cut piece featuring specialty finishes such as soft-touch laminate to give a silky, matte effect that makes the spot clear ink on the taillights and back window stand out.

We affixed the letter to look like the van was a part of the interior artwork of the box. Since it wasn’t immediately apparent that the van wasn’t a part of the artwork, the letter became an additional surprise for the recipient – especially when they realized we also incorporated their name into the license plate of the van.


During the initial brainstorming phase of this project, we decided that we wanted to create a traditional map that reflected the road-trip theme. We wanted the map to be something that people could hang on their walls but also have a nostalgic feel to it, similar to the maps that were kept in glove compartments before GPS became ubiquitous.

Since one side of the map would have the geographical details, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to fill the other side with stories from our team. One of the crucial aspects of our annual campaign is to showcase the human side of our business. To do this, we asked our team to provide us with their favorite road-trip routes and stops, and we even included our office dog and AI in the fun.


Documenting a trip is easy to do on a mobile device, but there’s something special about a keepsake journal with your trip notes. The logbook we created for this project was designed and printed in-house at Tactive and features several different specialty finishes, including a saddle-stitch spine and navy stipple cover with a spot print of white ink.

In addition to plenty of pages for trip notes, the logbook also includes games to keep passengers of all ages entertained during the ride.


The size, shape, and design of the box for any 3D Dimensional Mail project is most often determined by the contents of the kit. As such, the final design of the box often comes after the print and promo pieces have been determined.

While we could always source custom boxes for our clients, we’ve recently moved production of several sizes of corrugated shipping boxes in-house. This campaign was a perfect opportunity to show off our custom box capabilities with a design that feels standard but is anything but.

The box features a die-cut text shape on the front which reveals a colorful design on the interior panel. Visually, the design echoes a postcard one might find at a roadside souvenir shop. This was our first attempt at a die-cut panel of this type, so the ability to produce boxes in-house was an added bonus as we worked out details like color and grain direction to ensure the structural viability of the design.

Our client appreciation mailer is always a hit! If you’re looking for a high-touch piece of direct mail, we’ve got you covered.  Say “hey” and we’ll get started on your next big project!