Yays and Nays of the Week

Having spent much of the past week in one of my favorite cities, Reykjavik, I didn’t consume as much marketing media as usual. Oh sure, I was exposed to just as much of it. But Icelandic isn’t one of the languages in which I’m conversant (those would be American English and British English), so most of the messaging was lost on me.

That said, I did see and hear enough to compile what I’m hoping will be a regular feature of this blog: the marketing zeniths and nadirs of the week.

·         * Outerwear brand 66° North is a ubiquitous presence in Iceland, where it's headquartered. And it’s also ubiquitous on Icelandair planes: 66° North apparently sponsored the flaps of cloth than hang over the seat headrests, so its name and logo are in front of you throughout the entire flight. Because it’s a low-key logo, though, and absent any obnoxious hard sell, the advertisement didn’t bother me. And the headrest covers are a great way of establishing a quiet, almost subconscious brand awareness—a brand awareness that I’m sure pays off when first-time visitors arrive at Keflavik Airport only to realize they should have packed an extra sweater or a winter jacket after all, but lo and behold! there’s a 66° North shop right there.

·        * “Oops! George Kovacs lighting, giftable ceramic & tabletop, and designer & personalized holiday cards” read the subject line from Joss & Main, a flash-sales decor site (and, full disclosure, a competitor of a company I work for). That “Oops!” certainly grabbed my attention, much more than anything else within the subject line. But when I opened the email, there was absolutely no reference to any sort of goof. Could “Oops!” have been included simply to boost the open rate? Last year a rash of companies sent out “sorry we goofed” emails apologizing for slow site load times, deliverability snafus, and the like. No doubt some of these apologies were valid, making amends for genuine mistakes. But it’s just as likely that some were bogus, written solely because subject lines referring to mistakes—and often offering discounts or other goodies as an apology—often lead to a lift in response.

         * Another subject line, from UK furniture retailer Cargo: “7 Weeks to go… Are you ready?” Obviously this was meant to create a sense of urgency regarding Christmas shopping. But I think “seven weeks” would encourage procrastination instead. “What, I still have seven more weeks till Christmas? That’s plenty of time. Let's head to the pub.”

·         * And another home furnishings retailer, Pier 1 Imports, has unveiled its holiday marketing with the tagline “Cheer 1 Imports. This is where the holidays begin.” It’s simple, it’s sweet—I love it. I also love the cheery Santa dancing atop its home page.

The top photo is of Reykjavik taken from the bell tower of Hallgrímskirkja church. This photo captures everything I love about the city.

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