JCL Blog

Could This Possibly Work for Amex and HP?

“I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.”

-Steve Martin

I try to make these posts positive.  The world has enough negativity without me adding to the stinking pile.  However, not long ago I got the most unbelievably dumb direct mail piece from American Express. Not wanting to go negative, I held my tongue.  

Today, I got an equally rediculous piece from HP, and here I am -- joining the screaming hoard!  

That is right, American Express sent me a 30 inch long remote control speedboat!  To buy an equivalent item on Amazon?  $30+!  

Any company doing a direct mail campaign where the item shipped is over $30 must have over $50 invested by the time it hits my door -- particularly with the custom box, shipping...  Any company spending that kind of money per item, must have done their targetting homework... right?


I am already an American Express customer!  One would think that before sending this list off to the mailing house, Amex would have done a quick compare to the current customer list.  

Hmmm... maybe they were targetting current customers specifically.  After all, the name and address matches exactly to my statement.  Why would anyone spend that kind of money to reach out to their current customers?  I have no idea.  American Express must have one talented advertising agency.

According to AdAge, Ogilvy and Mather New York is the agency of record for American Express, who is the 9th largest advertiser in the country with an annual budget of over $2 Billion.  These guys must be super smart -- do you think this campaign could possibly work?

HP and BBDO - Just Keeping Up

Not to be left out, HP sent me a remote control Ferari.  Now this is a bit more modest, less that a foot long, and probably in the under $20 price range.  Also, we are an on again, off again HP customer and partner, so getting in front of us could make a difference in our purchasing habits.  Lower cost, more upside... but I still have a hard time believing that this campaign could even pay for itself.  Incidentally, HP's ad budget is only $1 Billion.

I didn't respond to either and my kids looked at the plastic crap and shrugged.

What on earth will the big spenders think of next?