Holiday Email Watch: Happy Birthday America! Now Go Buy Something!

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Oh, say can you seeeeeeee your inbox? I can see mine, and can report that email marketers did not take a holiday on Independence Day.

On July 4, 40 marketing emails hit my personal inbox. (I had hoped for a more patriotic number to report, but if I factor in press releases and spam from my work account, the total goes over the 50 mark to 52.)

Only 4 choose to use the word "fireworks" or similar imagery ("bang," "ooh, ah"), while another 4 opted for a play on "Happy Birthday."

The Massachusetts shopping center Burlington Mall caught my attention with "? Shop Like it's the Weekend at Burlington Mall® ?" (the stars in the subject line are a nice touch.) Inside, the mall suggests some pre-fireworks shopping, and promotes a $1,000 shopping spree that shoppers can text a short code to enter. The only place the email falls short of skyrocketing is that no mention is made of what the holiday store hours are—they're probably not regular mall hours, so best to let shoppers know when they can pop buy to rampantly spend their discretionary income like good Americans.

Joss & Main’s "$4 on the 4th" subject line was also eye catching. Inside, recipients found that they had a $4 credit in their account, ready for them to spend.

Of course, some marketers chose to ignore the holiday and mailed what was probably a regularly scheduled blast. Lego, for example, sent its regular monthly VIP program newsletter on July 4. My copy hit my inbox at 4:38 p.m. eastern—not exactly prime timing to reach Lego-buying parents who are likely busy chasing their kids around a picnic or beach. This is one message that would have been better kept until July 5, when kids are back at camp and mom can focus again.

choose July 4 to offer a one-day sale of  "The Twilight Zone" DVD box set. At first, I didn't see the connection. But then I remembered how I've felt some holidays with family and, well, yeah, I get the link now. Well played, Amazon, well played.

Finally, BBC America sent an email subject lined "Everyone Wants One of These." One of what, I wondered? Surely, there must be some clever play on words inside about declaring one's independence from boring television, or "all is forgiven, come home to the quality programming of her majesty" or something.

Nope. Inside, several fine products are offered. But does everyone really want a "Mind the Gap" doormat, brandy butter or a TARDIS USB hub? (Okay, I already have the last one.)

Of course, I should be more positive about this. As the Dowager Countess (played by Maggie Smith, who is featured on one of the DVD's BBC America knows everyone wants) would say, "Don't be defeatist, dear, it's very middle class."



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