In a roundabout "How To" post last Wednesday, I explained that one can create Surprise by playing with the context of a situation.
Well, the following kinda puts the "con" into "out of context," and shows what happens when you let software do a human being's job.
Last week, I received an unsolicited, Surprise email from someone named "Nikki." In it, she enthused:
"I was checking out your blog and I noticed that you wrote about cardio in your blog entry The Highlight Reel of Life..."
Nikki went on to link this most innocuous and inconsequential mention of the word "cardio" to the fact that she was
"...contacting you on behalf on Kmart & M80, because we think you and your readers might be interested in Kmart’s annual weight loss program and competition, 'New Day Your Way.' It’s a simple, fun and supportive program to help shed pounds and find a healthier, happier you."
Anyway, she then explained the program, offered up a bunch of e-promo pieces (web banners, videos, press releases) for me to use and, as compensation for doing so, dangled in front of me a
"...New Day Your Way prize pack of exercise and weight management essentials from Kmart* (Fitness DVD, Exercise/Yoga/Pilates Mat, and Kmart Gift Card) along with a chance to win a year membership to Bally’s Total Fitness!"
Be still my beating heart!
What a crock of crapola, the whole lot of this. Some spiderbot cruises the blogosphere for keywords, and no matter their context, tries to match them with a lame-o, seemingly-related promo campaign. Is this what marketing is coming to?
This pisses me off for a number of reasons. First of all, if this were heartfelt and legit, the cooperation would be massive and majestic. If someone actually took a few seconds out to understand the relevance of this blog, and so many others, they could actually perform wonders in generating relevant marketing buzz. Hey, we all have other jobs (okay, most of us); we'd appreciate the help. Instead, we are faced with this insult on our intelligence and passion.
Secondly, if I am going to get blog-bugged, when I think back on all the words and names published in Pow! for the past few months, there are many other promotional prostitution ploys I would rather be offered. For example:
- "Jewelry"--where are you Cartier?
- "Keith Haring" and "Robert Crumb"--MoMA, there's still space on my walls
- "Levi's"--is my professed love for you not worth a pair of vintage 501s?
- "God"--a bit of guidance and afterlife guarantee, please!
- "Seth Godin"--same as God, I guess...
- "Spam"--some tinned neo-meat or at least two tickets to the musical
- "Beaver"--uh, okay, I think you get the point...
Thirdly, to add insult to injury, 12 minutes after her first email, Nikki (or her wonky software program) wrote back with a similarly-worded offer, with this as the lead sentence:
"I was cruising your cardio, and I think you might be interested in Kmart’s annual weight loss program and competition..."
Oh darling Nikki, no one on earth cruises my cardio like you do. (Hey, I just mentioned the word "cruises." How long before Carnival tracks me down?)
Phew! Gotta catch my breath after a come-on like that. Stay tuned. To be continued tomorrow...