I received an email yesterday from a golf-related company with which I’ve done business as a consumer. I’m not going to name names, but I’ll bet you’ve had a similar experience as the one I’m about to describe, and you can feel free to hit up the comments, ratting out similar offenders. The note came with the subject line A Genius Gift For You. The body of the mail left me wondering exactly for whom the gift was intended.
Enclosed in the mail was the following offer:
Tell us how (name of their product) helped to make your 2015 golf season great and be entered to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card.
So you’d like me to write you a love letter (which I assume will also require me to give you use of whatever I write in promotional materials) praising your product in return for a chance – and only a chance – to win something? How is that a gift, exactly? When your Aunt Sally comes in with a holiday gift, she doesn’t say “Hey, stroke me out a recommendation for promotion I can give to my boss and just maybe you can be entered in a lottery with all your cousins to win a nice sweater,” does she?
This isn’t bad advertising. It’s not the equivalent of those horrible Michael Bolton in the snow ads from a couple of years back that never seemed to go away nor some of the random Santa appearances you see in an attempt to holiday up an otherwise bad campaign. No, this more Scrooge-like. Do you want to give me a golf related holiday gift? Maybe find 10 fantastic game improvement golf videos on Youtube, build a branded playlist, and send me the link? Improve your game this Christmas! Don’t like that? How about a real sweepstakes then, one that doesn’t require me to spend even a second conjuring up what just might be false praise? Enter me automatically and maybe even offer multiple prizes?
A gift or a present is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment, according to the dictionary. This isn’t a gift. Me sending along this free consulting advice to the marketing contact in the email – that’s a gift! You want in?