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The fatal Xmas mistake

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday December 25, 2007 )

Each year on Christmas day, I write a blog post about the event; but probably not the type of post you’d expect from someone involved in marketing. If you’re looking for something bright and cheery, skip reading this.

Every year, I find an increasing number of reasons to hate Christmas day, some of which I cover in my posts from Xmas 2005 and Xmas 2006. I post these mainly just for myself, and then look back the following year to see if my dislike wanes or intensifies.

Mostly what I hate, aside from the rampant commercialism in itself, is the effect it has on many people. I was at the supermarket a couple of days ago and people, as usual at this time of the year, looked particularly harried and cheesed off. On the same day at another local mall, there was a stabbing in broad daylight and police were called to several other disturbances there, including some maniac roaring around the car park screaming something about not being able to find a parking space. It would be amusing if it wasn’t true.

I usually try to go into a semi-hibernation state during this period.

But even the online world is no longer the refuge it once was.. an IM popped up last night from a merchant I hadn’t communicated with for months.. the following conversation took place (slightly edited to protect the now forever-damned merchant):

Merchant: Hi
Merchant: Hello, This is X – Customer Relations Executive, Damned Company
Merchant: Merry christmas
Merchant: :)

Me: thanks, same to you :)

Merchant: How is your work?

Me: fine thank you

Merchant: Any special plans for the new year?

Me: no, just more work :) – you?

Merchant: Same, but we’ve just introduced a new product called Double Damned
Merchant: :)
Merchant: Is this of interest to you?

Me: ?

Merchant: Just wanted to know if we could interest you in Double Damned, it’s pretty (damned) good!

Me: oh I see, the merry xmas was just an opening line for a sales pitch… and here I was thinking you were just purely being friendly and full of the true spirit of the season :). I know you’re just doing your job and I don’t mean this nastily, but go away and please don’t bother buzzing me again.

… he was pretty much doomed from the moment he said Merry Xmas.. I could sense the spiel coming – but I did try still giving him the benefit of the doubt. Being involved in marketing can make a person with cynical tendencies even more so I guess!

Moral of the story – if you’re going to hassle customers today; just say Merry Xmas and leave it at that. In fact, leaving the Merry Xmas out is also advisable in case they are like me. Just say “hi, best wishes” or similar. They’ll be ultra impressed you thought of them and absolutely astounded that you didn’t try and sell them something in the same communication :)

While I’m involved with marketing, I think it’s the epitomy of bad taste to be making unsolicited approaches on this day, using the event in order to get a foot in the door – for just 24 hours out of 8760 in a year, can’t we give it a rest?

I wish you and yours a peaceful and joyous day.. and for just $9.99 extra, I’ll throw in some love too… this won’t last, PayPal me now, I’m ready to take your money.



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