Fantastical Marketing Idea?

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So I arrived in my office today and as I collect my mail from the mailbox, I noticed a plain white envelope with a United States Seattle stamp and post mark on the front. This was strange as I wasn’t expecting any new instructions from the USA, and nor any cheques for work completed either. The next thing I noticed in the top right hand corner of the envelope was a sender/return address, which read as follows:

Ms. Anastasia Steele
1114 SW Green Street
Haven Heights, WA 98888

I was intrigued and immediately opened the envelope to find inside just one single clean crisp sheet of white letter paper, with a single typed sentence in the top left hand corner reading;

“You should explore your Christian Grey side.”

50 Shades of Grey

Now to the avid fiction reader amongst you, you’ll have most likely recognised those two names instantly as the characters in the E. L. James novel “50 Shades of Grey”. Christian being the ‘Dominant’ title character and Anastasia as the ‘Submissive’. I however, did not.

Having never read any of the series of books, I in-turn had never heard of either of these character names. And that’s why I believe this is an incredible piece of sublime marketing by the publisher as the very first thing I did was ‘Google’ the addressee’s name. Obviously I discovered very quickly that the sender was in fact a fictional character, and that the single typed sentence was a paronomasia on the title character, and that’s my point right there.

With nearly every other piece of advertising I see during the day, I have become so use to being bombarded with new products and messages that I am now desensitised to almost every media stream out there and automatically block the advertisement from my mind, and continue with my day to day duties. This on the other hand is one of the first pieces of marketing that I have received in a long time that has actually made me physically take time out of my day to look into, research, and discover the hidden message within, and that is the very sheer brilliance of it.

As a company owner, I spend the majority of my week trying to work out how best to market my business and advertise to my prospective customers effectly, whether they are Solicitors, Private Clients, or Commercial Businesses, and this single letter has suddenly made me rethink my entire marketing strategy. Am I being too obvious and mundane in every leaflet I send out? Should I in fact be sending out letters with open ended questions which in turn prompt my target audience to research my organisation vigorously and even contact me for additional information? Maybe I should expand those thoughts a little further and even go so far as to become deliberately obtuse in my publicity? Whichever new route I do decide to take with my outbound marketing plan, I am certainly going to be thinking ‘outside the box’ a little more and hopefully not have my message automatically blocked subconsiously anymore.

As a side note, this final question has just popped into my mind. Off of the back of this advertising letter, would I buy and read a ’50 Shades of Grey’ book?


Written by Martyn Kemp
Kemp Investigations and Legal Services
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