LOFT Inspires With Intriguing Subject Line & Animated GIF

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From the intriguing subject line to the simple (yet so cute!) animated GIF, this email from Ann Taylor LOFT really caught my eye. While I already featured a LOFT email in a past post, this one was too good to pass up!


Since readers only spend 3-4 seconds deciding if they are going to read your email or not, it’s important to get it right from the start. The “from name” is the field that appears first in most email clients & it tells recipients who sent the message, so it should be recognizable and trustworthy to external audiences. The LOFT keeps is simple & uses “LOFT” as their from name.

I also really enjoyed the subject line of this email, “Unwrap me…” It made me curious about what there was to “unwrap” and it encouraged me to open the email. By leaving the subject line a little elusive, I was curious about what was inside the email, so I opened it. It was also very different from the other emails they’ve sent recently:

Another positive aspect of the email is the reply-to address, which is “” Many retailers use the dreaded “no-reply” email address, or variations of it, which appear unfriendly, uncaring and definitely don’t encourage customers to interact and respond back to the email. While I’m not sure if the LOFT monitors this inbox and responds back to inquiries, it’s much better than the infamous “no-reply”!

Unfortunately, they didn’t get it all right. Since some email clients (Gmail, Outlook, iPhone, Windows Mobile 7) will display a portion of your preheader text as “preview” or “snippet” text, it’s important to use these few lines of text to your advantage — it’s the perfect place to get your subscribers’ attention, sum up your email and include the CTA. Unfortunately, the LOFT’s preheader is a mix of repeating the subject line and their mobile/browser links — it has nothing to do with the content of the email and didn’t intrigue me at all!

As you can see, the snippet text is “Unwrap me…View on a mobile device or web browser Market Place at Faneuil 200…” The LOFT could have optimized this space by further intriguing the subscriber about what they were going to be “unwrapping.” I think there was a major opportunity lost by not using a preheader.


I absolutely love the animated GIF in this email. It’s so simple — just a box jiggling back and forth for a few seconds — but it further intrigued me to see what was in the box if I “unwrapped” it. It was as if the box was taunting me! It’s such a simple animated GIF, yet it adds so much whimsy and fun to an otherwise muted email.

And the best part about animated GIFs?  While video and CSS3 animation have mixed support across email clients, animated GIFs are supported in basically all of the major email clients! Check out a chart of animated GIF support from our friends over at Campaign Monitor.

It should be noted that since only the first frame of the animated GIF is displayed in Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, and Windows Mobile 7, it is important that the first frame includes important information and is not just a blank image. The LOFT does it right — the first frame includes the main call to action and an image.


Another aspect of the email that I really enjoyed is that they personalize the email by including LOFT locations near the recipient’s mailing and/or billing address. It’s really nice that they include locations near their customers in case they’d like to go to the physical store, rather than shop online.

It’s such a simple touch, but it adds a lot to the email. It makes the content relevant to the subscriber, which is so important to prevent unsubscribes and keeping your users engaged.


This email doesn’t look awful on a mobile device, but since it’s not scalable or responsive, the small text is difficult to read and the buttons aren’t “touch-friendly” on the small screen of a smartphone. Luckily, since it’s the main CTA is part of a larger linked image, if a subscriber touches anywhere near the button, it will still take them to the landing page. All of the other links on the email — navigation bar, social sharing links, etc. — are subject to fat-finger mis-taps on small screens.

In addition, not only did I have to zoom in on my iPhone to click the “View on a mobile device link,” but the landing page it brought me to was anything but mobile-friendly. The text was hard to read due to its small size and all of the links were so close to each other that they are very difficult to click!

I suggest getting rid of the link to the “mobile version” and either linking to a mobile-friendly landing page, or making the email responsive or scalable. The best scenario would be having a mobile-friendly email AND landing page!


Do you have an email that you’d like us to feature in our inspiration series? Send it on over!