Friday, December 14, 2012

Bad Marketing (Of) Campaign

So, I'm not really officially blogging again. (Unless I decide that I am.) But something came to my inbox today that left me half-laughing and half-offended. It’s so outrageous that I had to share it, and 140 characters simply won’t do. 

(Complete and unedited text of an advertising email I got from one of the sugardaddy/sugarbaby sites.) 

Hello Beautiful,
As an attractive, independent woman, you get all the breaks: skipping lines at clubs, free drinks, higher employment rate, and now you are avoiding the "Fiscal Cliff".  Luckily for you, you're not ugly; because unfortunately, by order of natural selection, ugly women lose... and only the beautiful survive.
Your government wants to push you off a "cliff", so don't get caught without your "parachute". Starting January 3, 2013, women like you will lose at least two thousand dollars to higher taxes. And unless they find a Sugar Daddy who can be their "parachute", they will fall off the "cliff" with the rest of the women. 
So, do you know a beautiful woman, like yourself, that you want to save from the Fiscal Cliff? Share this email with her to guarantee that both of you have your "parachutes".

Let’s examine this bit by bit, shall we? In the first line, we get some passive-aggressive whining about the benefits of being considered an attractive person. Which do exist, although I must point out that attractive men also tend to have higher employment rates. (I would imagine that they could get free drinks with no lines, too – if they went to gay bars. You have to consider your audience.) Plus, I thought everyone was currently avoiding the fiscal cliff, not just attractive independent women.

Second line: people who have not really read Darwin should not try to reference his theories. 

Third line: now we’re getting down to it. The writer is correct to put quotation marks around “cliff”, because it’s actually not a cliff. I suppose he’s right to put them around “parachute” as well, since in the event that one did, literally, fall off a cliff, your standard-issue parachute would not help the situation. 

Fourth line: Since all attractive women apparently fall into the same tax bracket. And retroactive middle-class tax breaks that are overwhelmingly likely to be passed don’t apply to us, it seems.

Fifth line: And the GOP wonders why women thought a war had been declared on them? Who wrote this, Todd Akin and Richard Murdock?

Sixth line: You know, if I did think I was about to “fall” off a “cliff” and I needed a “parachute” to save me from the fate of “the rest of the women”, I’m not sure I’d be inviting other beautiful women hang onto my legs. Kind of goes against that natural selection thing, you see. I really hate it when terrible ad copy is so philosophically inconsistent.

So this is terrible writing, and a completely lame and somewhat offensive premise, but I must reluctantly give it points for sheer marketing nerve.  You have to appreciate it when a website takes a markedly republican-ish point of view about the current financial situation and spins that into what is, basically, the suggestion that women should be sex workers and encourage their friends to be, too. 

I’m somewhat disappointed to see that they didn’t try to work any of the social-conservatism angles into this pitch, though. They could have done something about how undocumented foreign women are going to take all the American men? Or how now that gays can marry, all the men (or should I call them “parachutes”?) are going to marry EACH OTHER! And leave us women to go over the cliff. An opportunity missed, there.

Ironically, I got this more or less right after reading an unbelievably condescending bit of tripe by Glenn Reynolds saying, essentially, that the unmarried women who didn’t vote for Romney were “low information voters”, and that the GOP should court us by buying some women’s magazines and putting Republican-friendly “feel-good stories” among the “the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping”.

I’m unmarried, Glenn. I read fashion magazines – and that is what you are talking about: fashion magazines. Not all women read them, and not only women read them, either. Let me tell you what else I read, every day: The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the CNN site.* It will shock you to know that I’m not a big HuffPo fan.  In addition, at least once a week, I go look at The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal. I sometimes even check out (god help me) The National Review, because I’m one of those crazy people who thinks one shouldn’t live in an echo chamber.  I find that works out well for me.

In short, I am anything but low-information. And I still did not vote for Romney. So take your patronizing drivel about my woefully-uninformed female brain and go fall off a cliff with it. Your ideas about how the GOP should to appeal to women are less intelligent and much more offensive than this email.

*Also frequent reads: The LA Times, The Stranger/Slog, The Seattle Times (although not that much) Talking Points Memo, and The Economist.