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Mocking Eye

'Tis all in vain?

Made-you-look Advertising

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I got a spam letter today from AT&T. Except it didn't say anything
about who it was from on the outside. The addressee was "California
Resident" so it was clear it was spam, but it was printed in a fake
handwritten font, in a fake blue pen color.

Upon opening the envelope you find a paper in standard Letter
dimensions, with what looks like a photocopy of an ad, complete with
the characteristic ink fading and smudging. Several parts of the ads
had the same kind of fake blue pen marked up as if with notes by the
kind sender. Although throughout the short interaction between myself
and the letter I was quite aware it was just advertising, the
anti-branding just drew me in. As far as I can recall, the AT&T logo
was only visible in one place, and even there it was understated and
quite small. Maybe it was just my fascination with the thinking behind
such an ad, but I felt drawn in against my will, my disbelief
suspended just a tad.

We live in a word saturated with brands. Also today, I saw a pack of
Duracell batteries at Safeway that included a horrible plastic
screwdriver shaped like a Duracell battery, clearly with the primary
purpose of adding the brand to your life even though it's obvious
almost no one would actually use the dinky screwdriver; it would lay
discarded somewhere, ready to anchor the brand when you least expect
it.

So, we seem to have developed powerful advertising ignoring skills.
Some studies have shown that advertising we pay less attention to
tends to have even greater effects, but I find this spam masquerading
as a personal letter to be proof that we've gotten too good at
discarding the useless brochures and pointless offers clogging our
mailboxes.

Perhaps once we get good at discarding these, they'll be able to
return to the gaudy spam of old.