Just For Me!

I received this postcard yesterday, and instead of being filled with warm, cozy thoughts of winter splendor, I was immediately put off. A bit odd, considering that:

  1. Two kids had taken the time to spell out my name in the cold
  2. Someone took the time to photograph this
  3. Someone took the time to send this to me
  4. My name was spelled my name right (a subject of great importance to me, and will surely be the subject of a future post…)

This was actually nothing more than junk mail — an ad from a local real estate company.

The back contained a listing about a property in our area, rather than a personal note of any kind. I had never met the sender, nor did they know me beyond mere “data” probably purchased elsewhere. Perhaps it’s because I’m familiar with the technology that allows one to customize a printed promotional item that made me so suspicious. Essentially, a software program scans data for a first name, places it into a template where a layout has already been designed, and a one-off postcard is printed on a small digital printer. Very clever, yet utterly misused.

The end result of this technologically sophisticated marketing is that I’m left feeling hollow. Not even for second was I given any feeling of a personal connection — their main intention. Obviously I didn’t know these kids, and surely they wouldn’t have braved the elements to arrange a pile of stones for a stranger. I know kids… having been one once myself: promises of hot cocoa can only work up until a point.

I must admit that the one shred of absolute brilliance here lies in their inadvertent typographic artistry: a “typeface” created from snow and stone which blends perfectly into the background of the image. The fact that this really looks like a photograph is quite amazing, and surely a huge part of its appeal to the real estate company’s marketing people.

However, it’s entirely possible that this same design is used to sell flowers, oil changes, and a million other things that most likely have nothing at all to do with kids, snow, or snowmen. Or me.