Monday, December 21, 2009

Seasonal spam

If I can borrow a thought from Gertrude Stein, 'a spam is a spam is a spam'.

And I think it's safe to say it's something we all despise.

This year, spam has turned seasonal with the proliferation of holiday e-cards. They're coming fast and furious and there's no way to stop them.

Now, I'm no Scrooge McDuck. In fact, I love the Christmas Spirit. If you listen to Inside PR #184, you'll hear me say that I think we should go back to saying 'Merry Christmas' and not rely on the euphemistic 'happy, etc. etc.' Having grown up without the holiday, I'm a big fan of the celebrations, the parties, the lights, the songs...

And the cards. I even like receiving cards from people I don't know very well, but who have at least made the effort to sign them.

However, e-cards are a completely different thing. In the same way that PR people used to blast out mass uncustomized pitches in a bcc list to hundreds of journalists (or more), these e-cards do nothing to build a relationship. They don't offer a genuine greeting, but attempt to sell you something. In fact, since I've been writing this post, I've received four more - all from companies I've never heard of!

'They're just using Christmas to market their own shit', says Louise Armstrong, who, if you read her blog and know her, is not prone to using that type of language lightly.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm happy (honoured) to be on your mass distribution list if we know each other (and I appreciate the gesture). And I will admit that we've sent e-cards in the past, though we put people's names in the to line, emailed them one at a time and only to people we consider colleagues and friends.

This is a wonderful time of year to reach out, reconnect and show people you're thinking about them. Like social media, why not make it personal and meaningful?

So let's get away from Christ-mass: please stop sending out seasonal spam. (Pass it along.)

4 comments:

Louise Armstrong said...

Since you quoted me and my most indelicate of language in your post you already know I feel strongly about this. But really, is there anything lower than marketing spam masquerading as a holiday greeting. I think not!

thornley said...

Bah, Humbug, Martin.

I can't agree with you. I'm pleased that people think about me when they send out their eCards.

By the way, I hope you enjoyed the eCard I sent you. ;-)

Martin Waxman said...

Thanks Louise and Joe.

And Joe, I wasn't referring to people I know - I was talking about all the e-cards I get from various lists bought by organizations I've never heard of; people who don't know me from Adam. So... I hope I can stay on your list.

jacob said...

Love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.
Great article and discussion!
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