Monday, April 4, 2011

Junk Mail Surprise

Coming home from a long trip there's always a crash course in targeted mailing services awaiting my arrival.  My Advertising degree strictly prohibits me from trashing junk mail without at least a cursory review; not for the product per se, but for content.  Email spam is a completely different story... that stuff gets the auto-delete... and, might I add, I'm a firm believer in chopping off appendages of those who propagate such ridiculousness.  Who's buying the fake Rolex and "enhancement" pills?  Really?  If there were no click-throughs there would be no market for spam!

OK, anyway... Let me preface this by saying, I'm a marketer at heart.  I use mail lists.  They are valuable.  My point today is snail mail lists and their absurd growth patterns.

In 1998, I moved to Chicago as part of US Cellular's now defunct Manager-in-Training (MIT) program.  It opened a lot of doors for me, many of which I'm still reaping the benefits.  Somehow, I got on a few industry mail lists at the time and, even after moving on to greener pastures, I'd receive something addressed to MIT Scott McGarvey.  It provided some chuckles and insight on where lists got sold and to whom.

Fast forward to 2011.  Like 13 years later, 2011.  Last week, I received a free pen and order form from National Pen Company addressed to me in care of MIT United States Cellular Cor... at my parent's home address.

How is that possible?  That means the mail lists from a Chicago  corporate address in 1998 have been combined with personal mail lists from 2011.  

They've cross-referenced and combined.  

Junk mail isn't just malevolently clogging our in-boxes and landfills, it's multiplying intelligently.  I think Bruce Willis should make a movie in which he combats hordes of envelopes and free lotion samples with a souped-up shredder and Louisville Slugger.  The idea's got legs... I think it'll move.

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