What are those books and mailers Vermonters are receiving?

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:43 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - You didn’t ask for them, but they are in your mailbox anyway. Books titled, “The Great Controversy,” and mailers that hold a small metal cross inside. A quick glance and you might think they go together, but they are unaffiliated.

The book tells the story of the “untold story behind the Vatican’s rising influence in America.” It comes from Remnant Publications out of Coldwater, Michigan. They said donors are able to purchase books and have them sent anywhere in the country using zip codes or mailing lists, but couldn’t disclose the donors behind the books in Vermont.

“Some people would pick it up and put it in the trash,” said Essex Junction resident Adam Thompson, “Because it’s cluttering up the lobby. So, I don’t think it really had an effect really.”

Thompson wasn’t a fan of the books and said it was unfortunate so many had to end up in the trash or recycling containers.

Then there were mailers sent from Kokomo, Indiana. “Yeah, no, no correlation,” said Terry Merrell, the chair of the organization “Cross America.” They have the goal of getting a cross into every household in America via mailer.

Vermont is the third state to receive the mailers following Wyoming and Hawaii. Merrell said Vermont came onto their radar after he spotted a survey online marking it as one of the most non-religious states in the country. It doesn’t have to do with the political cycle. He says the decision to deliver 79,000 by hand and by mail now was because of Vermont’s fall foliage. “It was because in the fall Vermont is a beautiful place, that was the only reason.” said Merrell.

They cost about 43 cents a piece, so to accomplish their goal in Vermont, it comes at a cost of about $113,000. Nationwide, would cost the organization over $50,000,000.

“It was abruptive, it made me pay attention,” said Matthew Dodds, “Then it made me want to figure out who sent it, so I started reading some of it, so it piques your interest.”

Dodds runs the marketing firm Brandthropology out of Burlington, and received the book in the mail. He said, according to the US Postal Service, since 2007, the peak of mailers, there has been a 40% decrease in direct mail marketing.

“I do think as things progress, as digital becomes more common and perhaps direct marketing less so, things in the mail stand out more.” said Dodds.

He said the abrupt nature of a whole book or metal figure also serves as intriguing elements, likely getting people to at least inquire for a few moments.

Dodds said “I would imagine they get a fair amount of traction, that they sparked dialogue, and a lot of people are reading, I’m quite sure of it.”