I have a friend who hates the idea of birthday wishes on Facebook. All you're getting, he reasons, is a bunch of meaningless greetings from folks who would have never remembered your birthday if it hadn't popped up in the corner of their Facebook home page.
Me, I kinda like it. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And I never remember to send cards to anyone myself, so it makes me feel way less guilty that folks who used to send me paper cards now type in Facebook greetings instead.
Birthday emails from companies I do business with, however, are another story. These aren't manually sent out by someone who saw my name on a web page, they're kicked out automatically by a database. Given this fact, can the ghost in the machine generate any warm and fuzziness from me towards these businesses?
"Happy Birthday! Celebrate With Free Shipping!" was the subject line Macy's greeted me with on my birthday. So you want me to buy myself a present, eh? Hmmm. Still, this is a cool offer, given that it is good for two months and there's no minimum purchase required. Maybe I can use it for holiday shopping.
My Coke Rewards sent me a special birthday greeting as well, wishing that that my "birthday is filled with little (and big) things that are sure to make [me] smile." A sweet sentiment, even if my reaction was, "wow, I joined Coke Rewards?" When did I do that? (I have zero points in my account, the email informs me. Zowie, I'll get right to going wild with those points to celebrate.)
I had a similar reaction from a birthday greeting from a message board I have no memory of joining/posting too, as well as a birthday offer of a free in-game gift from Pogo.com (the latter I remember joining with a free offer and then never participating in). In all cases, these could be good kickstarts to become active.
JetBlue didn't try to sell or give me anything, beyond greetings "Dear Elizabeth, May your birthday be filled with happiness, gifts, cake and maybe a trip or two. And may it be as rewarding as being a TrueBlue member."
Still, the winner of the warm and fuzzy award goes to GameStop's PowerUp Rewards program with its "Something is popping up for your birthday!" email. Inside, was their trademark bunny popping out of a cake, offering me 20% off on a pre-owned game. Was I won over by the rabbit? Eh, he's cute, but the offer—which I can use for my son's upcoming birthday—was the real treat. And the tagline "Who says birthdays can't be all fun and GAMES?" was a winner too.
And for the record, my friend who hates Facebook birthday greetings? Even though he warned me days before he would not be commemorating my day of birth with a heartfelt post, he came through:
Dear ______, I hope your ___th birthday is your best ever.