The Complexities of Simplification
Remember when you were a kid and you learned how to fold a single sheet of paper into a little device that would allow you to tell fortunes?
It seems it's called an Origami Fortune Teller and over 1.3 million people have watched the instructional video on YouTube (side note: wish I'd thought to create that video when I didn't have anything else to do).
I was reminded of that device recently when my controller walked in carrying the latest direct mail package she received from FedEx. The 6" x 9" envelope carried a simple teaser line: "My FedEx REWARDS."
Being a good voyeur of marketing content, she brought it to my attention because she had inadvertently ripped one of the contents inside—and flung it down on my desk declaring it was "stupid."
It turns out the envelope contained two items: a single-sided "card" and a multi-fold, multi-glued insert that was ... well ... stupid. This particular insert added no value to the communication other than it was one more item in the envelope.
Whoever designed it probably needed to watch the Origami Fortune Teller video to get some better ideas on how to design something like this because, with its multi-fold/unfold option, it simply wasn't intuitive—thus the ripped piece that was now lying on my desk.
The insert didn't add one additional piece of information—not one nugget of "surprise!"—and, in fact, the message inside (that it was easy to earn more great rewards and experiences) was counterintuitive to the experience we were having with the insert.
I think this is a great example of creative gone awry. I'm fairly sure the marketing strategy behind this direct mail package was to inform customers that there was a new FedEx Rewards program. And, the support messaging was:
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.