Hidden Messages

Alan BelniakMarketing7 Comments

I got a medium-sized envelope in the mail yesterday.  It was addressed to me, at my work address.  I noted that the return address  was in Texas, but didn’t immediately notice the three letters above the address (come to find out it was a company name).  I have to admit that I was curious.  Really curious.  I Googled the name before I opened it and didn’t get much info from the top few results.

So, I opened it.  It was a one page letter, very short (see the picture), complete with a custom URL to a microsite and some convoluted/obscured text at the bottom.  Out of the envelope also fell some 3D-like glasses (except for red and blue lenses, both lenses are red).  I put these on and read the now-clear text.

VLG glasses and letter

The look on co-workers faces as they walked by my office was priceless.

Hmm, I thought.  This is pretty interesting.

So, I went to the site and read the first page of contents.  What was great was that the site loaded fast, has some good graphics and images, not many words, and was easy to follow.  Again, there was some convoluted/obscured text, so I donned my reader glasses once more and read the message.  I clicked through (it asked me to, so I obliged), and it brought me to a value proposition page.

I’ll have to say I found this page a bit harder to follow.  I wasn’t entirely sure what this company did.  But I liked that it, too, was clean and simple.

Here’s the kicker
: about three minutes later, my phone rang. I looked on the caller ID display, and it wasn’t a number I recognized.  I Googled “area code 214” and sure enough – it was Texas.  What’s great about this exchange is that this company knew I was reading their site because I just clicked through.  They were making a bet I was in the office (versus on the road or somewhere else, maybe mobile) and that they’d reach me.  I was torn away from the desk momentarily, so I couldn’t take the call.  But they left a message, and I called back, because I thought it was so clever.  They engaged me in a way that wasn’t obtrusive and actually intrigued me.

This is an interesting way to reach out to people (interesting to me, since I’ve never seen it before).  It reminded me of the way that the Discovery Channel reached out to certain people (like Chris Brogan) with its ‘Frenzied Waters’ campaign earlier this year (July 2009) for Shark week.

What do you think?  Is this clever?  Invasive?  Creepy? Novel?  Something else?

(The company is VLG Marketing and Advertising, and the URL is www.wefightboredom.com.  Full disclosure – I am not a client, I have not engaged with them for any of their services.  But you know what?  When I had the conversation with them, it was pleasant.  I commended them on how clever it was.  They got my attention.)