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outrageous waste: Reason #872 I hate marketing

December 12, 2008

In a somewhat atypical fit of action following a more typical fit of pique, I just flamed some marketing folks from Frontier, the communications company you can get phone and Internet service through, because of an obscenely wasteful direct mail piece we got not long ago.

Have you seen it?

6They mailed us and who knows how many thousands of other people six plastic fake gift cards, each one wrapped up in paper printed with the identical information, all put into a white box printed to look like a present with a ribbon, shrink-wrapped in more plastic. FAKE cards! There is nothing to do with six fake plastic gift cards but throw them away. You can’t compost them, shred them and use for hamster bedding, eat them, play cards with them. Nothing! Couldn’t they have made the point with some pictures?

So I sent them a message. After I sent it, I found a bunch of other corporate folks listed who I should have sent it to rather than marketing and PR. I meant to be high-toned, but probably just came off as shrill. I hate this type of marketing though, hate it cluttering my mailbox and now the landfills. It’s corporate self-interest and nothing less. On top of that, it’s not even smart.

Anyway, if the Beagle and I disappear in the snow or the Jetta gets car-bombed, you know why.

If insipid marketing campaigns and waste bug you, and you’ve got nothing else to do on a snowy weekend, there are some people to bug here http://frontieronline.com/corporate_communications/ or here http://frontieronline.com/customerservice/

Thanks for listening.

—Original Flame—
Dear Mr. Harrison, Ms. Miller, Ms. Beasly, Ms. Amendola,

I found your names from Frontier web site, and since you represent community relations and marketing for your company, I hope you will consider these comments in future marketing endeavors.

Your latest mail campaign sending out six fake gift cards to advertise a gift card promotion uses a gross amount of waste to make a simple point. But the overriding effect it had on my family was to question your company’s judgment, commitment to resource conservation, and opinion of your prospective customer. Was it really necessary to send six fake plastic gift cards, all six wrapped in paper, all six paper-wrapped plastic cards included in a shrink-wrapped paper box, to make us get it? It is not only insulting, but a thoughtless waste of paper, plastic, and human resources.

I encourage your direct mail staff to rethink future projects in light of the waste you’ve already added to the landfills of the communities you claim to serve by mailing thousands of packages of useless junk in the disguise of a holiday present.

Sincerely,
(me)

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. ariana permalink
    December 13, 2008 10:01 pm

    I love this! PLEASE let us know if you get a response…

  2. sarah permalink
    December 18, 2008 10:34 am

    give it to ’em. You can also register with the direct mail somethingorother and get your name off the mailing lists. I did it years ago and it has cut my junk mail to almost nothing. Won’t stop anyone you’ve actually done business with, but will stop most of the rest.

  3. Ben permalink
    December 19, 2008 6:31 pm

    You want to put working class people out of work. That company spent money and employed people in paper mills, and direct mail houses. Oh, but the enviroment’s more important than jobs for the working class.

  4. December 20, 2008 10:07 am

    Thanks for the supportive comments and the alternative view.
    I believe that we can do things differently from the traditional methods without putting people out of work, and that people can feel good about working in businesses that give them good work to do that is also sensitive to the environment we all share. And that marketers should make more thoughtful choices about what they send in direct mail.

    I posted a while back about Catalog Choice to cut down the number of paper catalogs we all get. http://www.catalogchoice.org

  5. Doug permalink
    December 25, 2008 8:51 am

    Ben:

    Just like cigarette manufacturers worried about lost revenue when clean air rules were implemented in most business, and the Do Not Call list help curtail cold calls from telemarketers, a Do Not Mail list would require businesses to adjust their use of mail. It’s not the Armageddon that many people claim it will be. And such a list would be “opt in”; in other words, if you want to keep getting junk mail, don’t sign up for the list!

    To me, “carpet bombing” a zip code with unwanted mail is just wrong. It sounds as though you support this, and that we must accept this as “jobs are on the line”. What about companies doing some REAL due diligence and market research on a target audience that wants a particular item, instead of the never ending cycle of junk mail? What about our right to be left alone? And it sounds like you could care less about the environmental impact of junk mail. I’m pleased to know most people don’t agree with you.

    The Supreme Court in Rowan vs. USPS said: “Every man’s mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek, from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.” I couldn’t agree more…

  6. David A Kemnitzer permalink
    January 14, 2009 6:20 pm

    I did sign up for Frontier DSL service and was sent the same 6 FAKE gift cards. What a sham this company is.

    • January 14, 2009 6:25 pm

      David, are you saying that you did not receive the promised reward for signing up? I was responding to the promotion, but we never signed up.

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