Accepting a Mail Dominant World —Cagle
BITS & PIECES
RANT WARNING! Keep your hands, face and elbows away from the magazine. Please adhere; neither I nor the powers that be at North American Publishing can be held responsible for those either materially injured or vicariously insulted. Reader discretion is advised.
I’m missing something extremely fundamental. Perhaps someone can help me put my finger on it. You know, one of those revelatory moments when you say, “Ah, now I see what you’re talking about.” I’m in need of revelation.
It’s this whole “Do Not Mail” (DNM) nonsense. I really, really don’t get it. Why would people take up a cause to stop the flow of unwanted “junk mail?” My home state of New Jersey just entered the fray. At the risk of being repetitive, let’s short-arm the flimsy reasons behind the effort to introduce state legislation.
Environmental Issue: Paper is harvested from managed timberlands. There aren’t sequoias or redwoods being hacked up to produce the latest Lands’ End catalog or the Payless ShoeSource ad. As for mail creating tons of waste for America’s landfills, why are you even throwing away your mail? Recycle that paper. If your community doesn’t recycle, don’t blame the USPS. Which brings us to...
Identity Theft: Jim Andersen of Instant Web Companies recently, and correctly, pointed out that you’re as vulnerable to have someone lift your credit card info after you’ve paid at a restaurant as you are of someone prying into your mailbox. And, if you’re paranoid about identity thieves striking your trash, buy a paper shredder, for crying out loud.
Waste of Time: I probably spend about 45 seconds a day, sorting through the mail. Subtracting Sundays and holidays, we’ll say there are 300 mailing days a year. That makes for 225 minutes of sorting over the course of a year. I spend more time watching Charlton Heston commanding Yul Brenner to “Let my people go!” And, is there a better line than Edward G. Robinson exclaiming, “Where’s your messiah now?” Truly one of the best villains in cinema history.
My point? In the time that I wasted blathering about “The 10 Commandments,” you had ample time to go through your mail.
Oddly enough, I received an e-mail from someone with the pro-DNM faction. He wrote, “The proposed recent ‘Do Not Mail’ legislation is an opt-out law. Only those not desiring advertising mail need opt out. Anyone desiring advertising mail can do nothing—and continue to receive it. Why deny those wishing to avoid advertising mail the power to do so?”
He later concluded: “I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!”
I’ve corresponded with this man several times, and he seems a genuine, intelligent person. He’s not in our industry, I believe, so his name is irrelevant. His attitude is a reflection of modern society—an age of TiVo, iPods, cell phones and text messaging, where we’re able to filter out any messages that have not been preapproved. A country built on its sense of industriousness now abhors any attempts at marketing on a one-to-one basis. The door- to-door salesman has vanished, as has the dinner-time telemarketer.
You can make an argument that it has vastly improved our level of privacy. But now there are those who refuse the offer of “care to look at this by yourself when you have a free minute?” They feel violated by this “invasion” of privacy.
Where is this all going? Someday, perhaps, people will walk around with “do not disturb” indicators on their person, meaning they are not interested in giving you the time of day, directions or a quarter.
SCRATCH-N-LAFF: Here’s a little something that is both kind of pointless and perhaps a little fun, courtesy of the printing industry.
Concord Litho, of Concord, NH, printed a rub-and-sniff card as an interactive element for the May 3 episode of the NBC comedy, “My Name is Earl.” The cards, which appeared in the April 30 issue of TV Guide, featured six scratch-off fragrances, including Oreo cookie.
During the May 3 episode, viewers were prompted via on-air graphics to rub one of six corresponding numbered boxes that released an aroma in conjunction with the comedy’s storyline. In addition to the aroma of Oreos, one of the other boxes contained new-car smell.
Concord printed millions of scented inserts on a 10-color heatset web press using special, clear, nontoxic inks that contained embedded fragrance oils. CEO Peter Cook noted that the scented varnish doesn’t interfere with graphics and remains dormant until activated by the consumer, allowing it to pass more postal and public regulations.
A little levity now and then never hurts.