Did I say that Reader’s Digest had got the message at last? Big mistake! When I opened the mailbox today, I was greeted by a green, A4 sized envelope, weighing 134gms. It was marked “HAND DELIVERED – IMPORTANT MAIL -” repeated across the bottom and down one side. I thought that was a bit funny, because last time I looked, all the mail was hand delivered, important or not. It also had a notice flagging that I was a valued customer with official selection for the $450,000 grand prize entry draw; that “Advantages”, approved by the chairman, no less, were also enclosed; an orange message printed-to-look-like-a-rubber-stamp, informed me that the important documents enclosed required an IMMEDIATE RESPONSE while an official looking seal and a fancy little stamp completed the picture.
And that was just on the OUTSIDE!
Inside the envelope:
One four page letter telling me amongst many other things, that my past customer record is noteworthy! and I have the perfect profile to become the Abassador of Honour for Reader’s Digest. But wait, there’s more – the suburb where I live has every reason to feel proud of having me as a resident! It’s absolutely clear that I could be the ideal ambassador- my past record speaks for itself – all the Reader’s Digest indicators point them towards MY home – AND they have eliminated 96% of customers in the State of NSW to arrive at my selection.
In the margin white space, another paragraph tells me that I have been selected from the whole of Australia and New Zealand as well as my suburb, as one of the best candidates to be nominated for the Ambassador of Honour.
Does anyone believe this garbage? They must, for the company persists, month in, month out with this hyped up, misleading marketing approach. Reflect on the fact that each year a number of people still fall for, and lose money to, the Nigerian email scam although it has been around for years
The four page missive also has a whole page made out to look like a certificate, entitled OFFICIAL RULING indicating that my nomination for the position of Ambassador of Honour gives me entry to the draw for the Grand Prize and Super Bonus of $500,000, plus a further $10,000 cash upgrade. But wait …. just that day the Catalogue team has decided to offer $1,000 as the March monthly prize to be bestowed, no less, on the Ambassador of Honour if drawn as winner of this March draw …I’m sorry, but I have absolutely what that means – to get the $1,000 I have to be the Ambassador of Honour AND ALSO win the March draw? So? Wouldn’t I still get it, even if I’m NOT the Ambassador of Honour? Smoke and mirrors..
On and on it goes, – notification of privileges for the Ambassador of Honour: the Catalogue team’s $1,000, a super bonus of $50,000 from Reader’s Digest; and a cheque for $10,000 on reserve for the Ambassador of Honour.
This is accompanied by “Last Minute Benefit” stickers that give immediate registration of 6 extra chances to win the Grand Prize, Bonus and Upgrade Draw when all the bits and pieces are processed.
A flyer telling me I’m just ONE STEP AWAY from the THANK YOU PRIZE of $125,00 or a BMW X6 -there is also a form to be completed saying how I want the BMW optioned!
An official looking award certificate for the Ambassador of Honour (in small print: nominee!), which has seven spaces to affix the various stickers from all the other bits and pieces in the envelope; numbers for the entries and references to a Cash Award Chance and also a Cash Award Offered to me (in small print: if I buy something and then win the draw.)
A 28 page catalogue of items to buy (only some of which are books!) which has a paper envelope attached. The envelope is marked with the exhortation “OPEN IMMEDIATELY”. Inside are 5 coupons for a “Preferred Customer Bonus” of $5,000 each. Each is marked “PLEASE DESTROY IF NOT RETURNED” ROFL!!!
109 stickers to affix to various places on the aforesaid certificates, indicating which items I want to purchase.
A self addressed envelope for returning all the documents to Reader’s Digest. Strangely, it is not prepaid – after all the money spent on marketing, you’d think they’d be good for a 50c stamp! The envelope is a work of deception in its own right. Importantly stamped “OFFICIAL REPLY ENVELOPE” and “Official Ruling – Ambassador of Honour” ( I thought I still had to be appointed??) it is covered in instructions and notices of urgency and importance: PROCESS IMMEDIATELY; URGENT RESPONSE REQUESTED; IMPORTANT: LAST MINUTE BENEFIT IN FAVOUR OF THE BENEFICIARY ?????; REPLY REQUESTED WITHIN SEVEN DAYS.
What sort of minds think up these convoluted methods to “hook” the uncritical consumer? Do they have no principles?
There should be a law against this type of marketing – it is misleading and as noted yesterday, a huge waste of resources. A couple of people commented on my post yesterday, saying that Reader’s Digest had filed for bankruptcy in the USA and is in administration the UK – I laughed at SallyO’s final words “…I would imagine their biggest creditor is the Post Office” !!! Good one, Sally. I wonder if Reader’s Digest in Australia is far behind?