Snail Mail Deception
As I collected my daily mail from the mailbox yesterday, I noticed a letter addressed to me. Well, not me precisely, it was addressed to Jason S. Maria, one of my many alter egos. This is nothing new. I noticed the front was covered in ink smudges, presumably from other letters in transit, enough so that I could make out the impression of a credit card contained inside. Even though it wasn’t addressed to me exactly, the prospect of throwing out an intact credit card, however vaguely attached to my identity, never feels like a good one. When I opened it I was surprised to find it was not a real credit card at all, but a fake credit card with a phone number on it. Upon closer inspection, I noticed something insipid. The impression left in the ink smudges on the front didn’t match the card inside. I held up the envelope two inches from my face, “The bastards printed the smudged impression on the envelope?!” Yes they did indeed. Thanks assholes, I can’t wait to sign up for your credit card now! Here’s a detail shot (I upped the contrast a bit to make the telltale moire pattern more visible).
Was this supposed to make me step back and say “Ho ho, you got me, that was a good one. Where do I sign”? What they were trying to do is get me to open the letter, and it worked. But wait a minute, did it really work? So I opened their letter, but there is a difference between enticing me to purchase something and instilling fear in doing business with you. Your letter worked, Bank of America, it motivated me to act. Without ever using your services I am inclined to distrust you, meaning I would probably go out of my way to do business with someone else. People aren’t big on feeling tricked, especially when it comes to their finances. It’s not entirely different than spam I suppose, although spam I get that has a similar aim is actually trying to steal my money/identity.
There are always consequences in the designs we create, the more we move towards cheap ploys to spur people into action, the further we push our audience and customers away. Offer me something tangible, something that tells me you are better than the rest. Lying to me before even saying hello only tells me you are behind the pack. And get my fucking name right.