The trigger for change

The trigger for change

Bulletpoint – a spark of creativity.


Bulletpoint’s ‘trigger for change’ mailing campaign to businesses achieved a 54% positive outcome response (1998).

“You made an impression both at work and at home.”  “My kids think you are cool and love the star blaster.”  “Fantastic mailer. I want to meet you.”

“You have only one opportunity to make a good first impression.”

Stand out or stand still?

Standing out in any overcrowded market place is one key to success in struggling industries (like design and print) who are suffering from the classic; ‘over supply and under demand’. Too many designers and not enough profitable projects. Add a recession to this scenario and standing out becomes even more important and IS crucial to success.

Note: This article was originally written during the LAST recession. A situation that has become much worse in the current economic climate (2008-14).


Paul Kerfoot spotted the sparky, space gun in a local toy shop (1997). The ‘trigger for change’ (great title) came later from a sub heading buried in some design book. ‘CHANGE or DIE’ was also a hot topic of discussion with BBC2’s ‘troubleshooter’, the legendary Sir John Harvey Jones (one of Paul’s heroes). Creativity is often about ‘connecting the unconnected’ and this perfect marriage of memorable ‘gadget’ and meaningful words to go with it created the ‘spark’ for a memorable mailer.

At the time, Paul added ‘Top Gun’ as a title on his business card, and later a new strapline for the company; Bulletpoint – designers, bright sparks and branding experts.

A blast from the past

1998: An impressive, creative mailer was beautifully and professionally packaged, wrapped and posted to a targeted list of VIP’s. A simple, thought-provoking message was printed in a glossy spot UV varnish and the reverse of the slipcase (wrapper) read;

‘Change is opportunity. Image is everything. Good design works.’


A spark of inspiration

“To create curiosity (the secret behind many great marketing campaigns) we just sent out the sparky gun package with no letter, no flyer/brochure nor any explanation.” To add to the fun, Bulletpoint’s telephone number was very discreetly hidden under a barcode with no obvious contact or address details of whom the mailer was from. (Only a handful of people figured this out and called us to see who had sent it.) The trigger and impact was immediate. The follow up calls incredible. The creative ‘spark’ also helping us to easily get through the gatekeeper. Result!


Creativity could be considered as the power of the gun, (an example of how good design works), yet it’s the mechanism inside that makes it effective. The concept also provided a strategy and a new way of thinking about design and change in any organisation. In this case a transparent one.

B2B marketing

“Imagine you are a business director, a sales exec or a marketing manager. How would you respond if this mailer landed on your desk? (Not only is the mailer disruptive it is also provocative.) And more importantly, would you be curious and interested in talking to or meeting the person that sent it?”

Design mavericks

Bulletpoint did also briefly consider using the sparky space guns in education – a new area of work and specialism that we also enjoyed. This idea was quickly dismissed at the time for obvious reasons! “You can’t really use toy guns in schools!” So we had to think of something else to tackle how to get in front of teachers.”

See the gun, see the fun

“Anyone who doesn’t like the idea or the sparky mailer in business is probably not the type of person I would work well with.”

Not adverse to risk, Paul uses this memorable prop in his fun, inspiring and interactive ‘Brand not bland’ business seminar (originally piloted in 2006).

“Become a sparky gun, not a spud gun.”

The sparky space gun is also a very memorable prop and anchor when used in any workshop scenario. Paul also likes to turn things on its head, do the opposite, take calculated risks and push your comfort zones, so ‘accidently on purpose’ used the sparky space guns in a teachers CPD on creativity, a half-day workshop pilot (2010) that was delivered OUT of school and off the premises. (So we did end up using a gun in education!)

Why? Saying nothing and designed to provoke reaction and stimulate a healthy debate on creativity, one teacher commented; “You have done that on purpose, to get us to think differently and take more risks with learning and creativity.” Another said; “At first the thought of using guns, even a toy one in school worried me. Now I would like to try it out!” The suggestion being would this ‘risk’ help engage a ‘healthy’ debate with young people on crime, drugs or bullying for instance, compared to traditional non-risk teaching methods? Dare I say, hiding behind or avoiding the real problem (or truth) where strong visualization provides 55% of the things we learn easily.

Challenging times

Bulletpoint re-launched this marketing campaign in 2006. The original mailer was expensive to produce per unit in 1998, the price of P&P had gone up and we also could not get hold of any more of the same guns! So we ended up sending a different one out in a silver bubble bag…

The trigger for change – Mark 2


I trust this concept has got your sparks flying here on how you can stand out, have more impact, take more risks in business and be different with your marketing activity.

I will end this ‘ramble’ here with an inspiring quote and a final thought below.

“This is a creative event. We actively encouraged the speakers to be disruptive and provocative.” – CAPE UK Creativity Conference – National Media Museum, Bradford (2009)

A message to all you designers of the future. How to stand out amongst all the noise? Why not become a design maverick, branding superhero or a creative genius? Create curiosity in everything you do and above-all, aim to be provocative, disruptive and memorable.”

For further information:

Please click here to download an A4 design case study sheet (Adobe Acrobat PDF file).

Please click the links for more information on Paul’s design and branding workshop and free red hot tips; ‘Brand not bland’ and/or click here for more information on Bulletman.

If you are interested in booking Paul for a design and branding workshop/seminar or to discuss your needs on your next creative speaking engagement please call: 08701 221 220 or 01274 740003. Or email:

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