Do It For Me

I admit to feeling some degree of dissonance with a local, well respected “brand experience” agency. While my sentiment should not be taken as mean-spirited, I think it reflects the general perception of inequity in what is, invariably, the transactional relationship between companies and consumers.

Several months ago, I reached out to said agency — let’s just call them Gumdrop — as one on a very short list of boutique branding agencies. I was in search of work and partnership and co

nversation, and while I was admittedly serving my own interests, I had no intention of imposing without offering something of value. They gave me a very prompt and courteous reply and noted that my timing was inopportune. No worries.

A few weeks later I was embroiled in a curious project (a pandemic flu “game” which happened to launch, coincidentally, as the swine flu pandemic was announced) that I thought made for a good story. Remembering their receptiveness to my initial introduction, I sent Gumdrop a summary of the project — an excerpt of a blog post I was writing on the topic. To that they replied “Please take me off your mailing list.”

Frankly, I get it. We’ve gotta remain vigilant against the waves of worthless emails (and I note that I was, in some folks’ opinions, contributing to the problem). Even though my email to Gumdrop was not because they were part of a mailing list, any individual recipient has the right to say “please stop”. I acknowledged as much in my final reply to them months ago, and still believe it now.

Which is why it was much to my surprise that I recently received Gumdrop’s email newsletter (without ever opting in, that I can recall). In it, Gumdrop explained the

campaigns that they feel make for a good story. And — I think you can see what I’m getting at here — I likewise unsubscribed.

I reckon the mistake made by our respective companies is that we were more interested in telling our own stories and cheering our own efforts than giving a gift. And as brand marketers both, we should perhaps rethink that approach.

In the interest of breaking the cycle, I “spammed” my Gumdrop contact with an original limerick as small token of my commitment to their delight. For what it’s worth:

Greg’s 82 Volkswagen, “Spence”
Was a time machine (well, in a sense)
By the time eighty-eight
Was his traveling rate
‘Twas seventy five minutes hence