I like this retailer and shop at them all the time, so I will do them the courtesy of not mentioning their name.
I don't remember exactly when it started, but many months ago, their weekly (sometimes twice weekly) emails started arriving with a subject line simply telling me that my local ads were online. Nothing in the subject line interested me because I had no idea what their specials were. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, so I opened the message and was prompted to click through to the retailer's site. At that point, I was prompted for my ZIP code and was shown an electronic brochure of the weekly newspaper insert that I already receive.
After a while, they expanded the subject line to also include some special on their e-commerce site, which is an improvement. However, the phrase about my local ads being online always preceded anything else they wrote in the subject line.
A general rule of thumb is that you don't want to require a click-through for your recipient to get your content. This is one of the major reasons video email stalled--email security locked video out of the message itself, and most customers weren't willing to click to a Web site to see the video. If this holds true for my retailer, then requiring a click-through and a ZIP code must surely have negatively impacted the success and ROI of their email program.
Perhaps there are other goals at work here that might explain the change in their email strategy. Or, maybe this works. So, if any of you have tried minimal content in the email with a required click-through to a site and have found it valuable, please let me know.