Cool Marketing Isn’t Always Smart Marketing


The picture at the left is the cover of an origami book that I received from American Express. The pitch is that I should use my Amex card to pay bills, thus leaving me without a need to use checks. The origami book is for the old checks. It's a very cute idea. But I have mixed feelings about this kind of marketing.

In a world filled with increasing amounts of noise, the competition for attention is fierce. Unique ideas like this origami book are necessary in order to stand out. But at the same time, it didn't really work. The point is to get me to pay bills with the card and to save my checks. I'm not going to do that. That would save me all of 20 minutes a week, which isn't worth my time to figure out how to set up the Amex program.

Like I said, the book was cool, but is this really the best way to market? You could argue that it made an impact on me and that, if I ever do want to stop writing checks, I will look into the Amex bill paying setup. Or you could argue that it was a waste of their time and money. Is marketing useful if it doesn't command action?

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While you are thinking about that, here is a picture from the inside of the book, showing me how to make a rowboat. Colorful origami papers were included.