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When Marketers Play Dumb

I got a kick out of a report I stumbled across recently called Marketing Stunt Leaves Consumers and Taxman Fuming. To sum it up, a company specializing in document management systems send out an email marketing campaign to around 2500 people on their email list. The campaign was designed to look like a warning email on late taxes or something from the South African Revenue Service (SARS).  The message ended by telling the readers they wouldn’t be in that “mess” if they were using the company’s software.

Well, of course, some people didn’t get that it was a marketing ploy (an unethical, and I’d be shocked if not illegal marketing ploy at that).  Seems like a pretty typical occurrance in the scam-ridden email marketing world, right?  Well here’s the amusing part:

Michael Gullan of Guerrilla Marketing (the company responsible for the actual marketing campaign) had this to say after the negative response: “We immediately realised that at least five percent of the database had misunderstood the campaign. A second email was immediately drafted and sent out to all recipients of the first email, explaining that it was part of a marketing campaign.”

Well golly f’ing gee…  who’d have thunk that laymen not in tune w/ crappy fraudulent marketing tactics would have misunderstood an apparent letter designed to look like it came from a tax agency?  Sure, it’s nothing new to us on the marketing end of things, but manipulating naive people with lies just rubs me the wrong way.  Seriously, where did all of the ethical marketers go?  I know you’re out there somewhere….

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