Thursday, May 3, 2012

Targetted Advertizing

I noticed a curious "coincidence" today.

I received an innocuous looking deal on vacuum cleaner bags from Amazon in my email. It was for the exact make and model of vacuum cleaner that I have owned for about two years now.

Nothing out of the ordinary here. Except for two things.

One, I was just about to run out of bags. I remember, because I made a mental note last weekend. Two, I did not buy the vacuum cleaner from Amazon!

I scoured the Trash folder of my email to see if there were prior deals like this, and if I just happened to notice it this time.  Nothing! Nada!

I recalled this story that appeared in the NYT article "How companies learn your secrets" earlier this year:
... a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry, according to an employee who participated in the conversation. 
“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?” 
The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again. 
On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”
If you haven't read the article before (it got a lot of secondary press) you should!


Digbijoy Nath said...

nice post ! .. nice links too.

Sachin Shanbhag said...

thanks, digbijoy!