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

Atomic engines to power … turbines to speed …

bigwidesky is beaming to introduce propeller, our high altitude interactive development team. Specializing in web, CD, and DVD communications, propeller “pulls message, design and technology into harmony to create interactive media that elevates your message, your image, and your essence.”
Now, before someone leaps up in the middle of a small town PTA meeting and shouts “Just a second there, bub! bigwidesky and propeller are the same thing: DEVIL MUSIC!” — allow us to clarify the delineation: bigwidesky is an innovation company exploring the corporate/community relationships of the new marketing paradigm; propeller is an interactive development team executing brand experiences within a digital medium.
Put another way, { bigwidesky : mankind’s lust for the stars :: propeller : Saturn V moon rocket }

“just”

In the graceful, brutal arc of a doomed relationship (romantic, professional, abstract, etc.), there may not be a staccato thunderclap signaling that Things Just Went ‘Round The Bend. Most often, evidence of the downward spiral comes in the aggregate, the result of a slow leak from pressurized discontents. What starts with an uncompromised disagreement evolves into militant passive-aggression and thereafter degrades to bitter nothingness. This has been well chronicled in the Cure’s old stuff.

Continue reading

Let me guess: Gozer worshippers.

[belated entry; busy is good]
IDEO is listening.
With no more nudging than our recent bloggy squawk, the revered designistas rocketed to bigwidesky some replacement method cards, a deftly penned note, personal contact card, and a paperclip we’ve dubbed “le sex bomba”. An impressive response, for sure, from an organizational monstrosity that understands the inescapable gravity of personal, human customer service [as Eliot noted earlier with uncharacteristic brevity, customer service is marketing]. And given that we really ain’t nobody to them, well, their attention feels nice.
[We're still deliberating whether or not IDEO is just playing along with our earlier conspiratorial suspicions, or if they've inadvertently included some proprietary scrap: check out this curious sketch on one sheet of their packing paper.]