January 23rd, 2008
Since I came across it a few weeks ago, I’ve been an avid reader of AdFreak. I’ve chuckled at the humorous clips they highlight and have been intrigued by the obscure campaigns they describe — but what brings me back again and again is their rather irreverent analysis of the advertising industry.
Today they had a post about all those dopey e-newsletters that have completely swamped my e-mail. It really hit home. As David Griner — one of their bloggers — explains:
Packed with puffery, these lengthy invasions of your inbox usually survive there only because it’s so hard to unsubscribe from them. But I’ve found proof that they don’t have to suck. The one corporate newsletter that’s allowed past my spam filter is the weekly bulletin from video-game retailer GameStop. It’s informative, brief and, quite often, hilarious.
I don’t read this particular newsletter (Not that this makes it any different than the boatload of e-newsletters I actually receive 🙂 ) but I get what Griner is saying. The ultimate purpose of most of these is to get you to buy something — whether a product or service — which is probably why I don’t pay much attention. But it sounds like GameStop has figured out that people are not only wise to this, but that to get anyone to take notice amid the cacophony, they have to talk in an authentic voice. In this case, humor and a slightly cynical tone helps to set their newsletter apart.
As the author of the e-newsletter explained to AdFreak’s Griner:
Every time I sit down to write the newsletter, my goal is to make milk squirt out of somebody’s nose with the least amount of words. We have a limited amount of space, and once I list when the game is coming out, which platforms it’s designed for and any special offers, I have to go straight for the comedic throat as concisely as possible. I try to think of that one guy who’s bored at work and pulls up our e-mail. He deserves that we at least try to make him smile.
Now jocularity may not necessarily equate to increased sales — the quality of the product will ultimately determine that — but I’m nonetheless cheered to discover that there are people who realize that the usual marketing song and dance may no longer work and that to reach people you need to treat them like people — and use your real voice.