My Postcard from DC

10/09/08 | 4 comments

My aunt called last weekend and left me a very sweet voice mail thanking me for the postcard I sent her. It was nice to hear from her, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy that my card made her day. I mean, that (in addition to world domination) is why I started my company.

So anyway, I figured I’d shake things up around here (since I haven’t posted much else recently) and post the card I sent her. Here are screen shots of the front and back – straight from the file that was printed.

PostcardPerfect Postcard from DC

PostcardPerfect Postcard from DC Back

Yeah, I call her “auntie.” You got a problem with it?

Brilliant! The U-Haul Mini-bar

09/08/08 | 4 comments

I discovered some great marketing while helping a friend move last weekend.

I’m not talking about fancy advertising or a slick viral campaign. Nope, this was just good old “selling the right thing in the right place at the the right time.”

I call it the U-Haul Mini-bar.

U-Haul Truck

At the back of the truck we rented there was a dolly (or hand truck, depending on where you are from) and a package of furniture pads. Both were strapped securely to the wall.

U-Haul: Rent Me!

Each one was covered with a sales pitch and price information.

Furniture Pads

Finally, there were green plastic ties that had to be snapped in order to access the items.


If the ties were broken, you get charged. It’s as simple as that. Just take what you need and they’d add it to your bill.

The hand truck was $7 and the furniture pads were $5. I think both prices were pretty reasonable (especially compared to a $6 bottle of water found in a traditional mini-bar). I’d love to see data showing how often each one is used.

Overall, I love this upsell tactic because it’s a really simple, yet very effective, way to solve a customer’s problem. You may have snubbed the idea of moving pads while renting the truck, but after hearing your spouse tell you for the 12th time not to scratch the furniture – they may start to look like a good idea.


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Oil Companies Face Hard Times (part 2)

09/03/08 | 2 comments

Apparently, BP wasn’t the only oil company to cut proofreading jobs….

This one is hard to read because I snapped it while driving.

It reads:
We support locally owned businesses.
Because we are one.

I know advertising gets a little leeway in regard to proper grammar, but there was really no reason for this. Would the message have had that much less impact if it was all one sentence?

And, while I’m ranting, I really don’t like the way they are presenting their position either. It’s clearly an attempt to convince people that Citgo isn’t a huge faceless corporation ripping them off.  To do that, they are alluding to the fact that most of the stations are franchised (i.e. locally owned).

That’s all fine and good, but it comes off as really shallow. A lemonade stand? Give me a break. I’d like to know HOW exactly they support locally owned businesses? By selling them gas? Right…

Brilliant! Helpful Shopping Carts

08/31/08 | 3 comments

I took some time off and headed out to Virgina Beach last week. It was nice not to have an agenda. I really enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing.

BloomRedbox and Bloom

Anyway, we stumbled upon Bloom supermarket and were thoroughly impressed. In addition to hosting a Redbox out front (this is the second vacation in a row that we’ve picked up a $1 movie to watch at the end of our day) they had something incredible on their shopping carts.

Ready for this?

A map of the store.

Bloom Shopping Cart Map

How cool is that? Being a resort town, they probably get a fair amount of tourist traffic. It makes a lot of sense to show people where everything is. In fact, it makes so much sense that I’m not sure why I haven’t seen it before.

Another cool thing about the carts is that they had two sizes: standard and mini. Again, Brilliant!

Bloom Shopping Cart

Not as brilliant as maps on shopping carts, but occasionally close.  Subscribe in a reader.

40 Reasons To Not Go Into the Toilet Paper Business

08/14/08 | 0 comments

I just finished filing for a utility patent. For those not familiar the process, it’s detailed, time consuming, and expensive. And, to top it all off, I hear that the patent office is backed up. I don’t expect to get an answer for a couple years.

Anyway, on a semi-related note, I was restocking our bathroom last night when I noticed something interesting. According to the Charmin Ultra Soft packaging, The toilet paper I was handling was “made under one or more” of a list of 40 US patents. 40!

We’ve come a long way, huh?

So just a warning, if you think you’re thinking about getting into the TP biz, you may want to reconsider. I think Procter & Gamble may have it pretty wrapped up.

PS. Check out this site I just found: Toilet paper: the interactive user experience of the last 1.5 centuries

Catch Your Own Dinner

08/04/08 | 3 comments

Tony at Zappos twittered last night about seeing one of those crane games that usually retrieve stuffed animals and candy. This one, however, allowed you to catch live lobsters. According to one sign: You catch ’em, we cook ’em, and you eat ’em.

The Lobster Zone

I love unique product ideas, and I’m pretty impressed by this twist on a tired classic. Apparently it does the job, too. According to Tony:

“Lobster game machine at bar is brilliant. Watched people spend $20 in past hour trying to catch a live lobster. “

A little web research brought me to the the site of Lobster Zone, Inc. The company claims to have over 300 such games placed around the US and has been around for roughly 10 years.

The “press section” of the site has an interesting article written back in ’98. It says that many of the machines (placed primarily in seafood restaurants at the time) were making over $1000 a week. It also estimated that it took a patron 18 tries with the crane before they mastered it.

The price was only $2 a try back then, and after 10 years -it still hasn’t budged. So there, quit your complaining about inflation.

Here’s a YouTube video of the crane in action: Lobster Game

Putting Online Viewers in the Pilot Seat

07/29/08 | 2 comments

I canceled our cable a few months ago and, for the most part, have been very happy with the decision. I waste much less time on the couch and don’t really miss it all that much. Of course, when I do want to watch some tube – I can always jump online where, thankfully, many networks have decided to post full episodes of their shows.

This weekend I decided to catch up on some of USA’s programing and headed over to their site to watch the built in video player. USA shows one 30 second commercial at the beginning of each episode, and then another every 10 minutes or so. All in all – nothing new. What was interesting though, was the two types of ads I saw.

Burn Notice

Saturday morning I pulled the laptop into bed with me and comfortably caught up on season two of Burn Notice. Almost every ad I saw was for Blackberry, so it’s safe to say I saw 12-15 Blackberry spots over the period of three episodes.

Here’s what I remember:
The spot showed a guy with a soccer ball. When he kicked it, it exploded into lots of different pictures and logos. They all came back together to form a Blackberry. Within the array of images I only remember a Facebook logo and a text message (“c u tonite”). At the end there was a slogan, but I can’t remember what it was. Something about Blackberry being able to handle everything in your life, I think.

Sunday night my wife and I watched one episode of Psych before bed. The structure was the same (4-5 total commercials), but these ads, all for the new Honda Pilot, were interactive. They moved for about 10 seconds, and then allowed us to click around for more info, change the car’s color, etc.


Here’s what I remember:
The Pilot has a backup camera, hill start assistance (so you don’t roll backwards), navigation, seating for 8, and comes in 7-8 colors. It looks coolest in Tuxedo Black and has a gear shifter in the interior that I don’t really like.

See the difference?

Even though I may not (OK, I straight out won’t) be rushing out to buy a Pilot, I learned and remembered much more about it than I did about the Blackberry. Remember, I saw three times the amount of Blackberry commercials too.

The other cool thing (from an advertiser’s point of view) about the Pilot spots is that they weren’t limited to 30 seconds. There was a count down clock and when it hit zero it allowed us to click to resume the show. However, we were free to keep exploring the vehicle for as long as we wanted. In fact, most of the time we’d be playing around and then realize that we could be watching the show if we wanted. Who knows how long we actually spent interacting with Honda.

Well, Honda knows – which is yet another great feature. I’m sure they can see how long people stayed, where they clicked, etc. That type of data is gold to marketers trying to evaluate their efforts.

Anyway, I guess it just reinforces that the opportunities online are much different than those in traditional media. It’s cool to see some companies embrace the technology and take advantage of the interactivity that the net offers. On the same token, it’s kind of puzzling to see the ones that haven’t adapted yet.

PS. Speaking of unique internet marketing ploys – check out

Oil Company Faces Hard Times: Proofreading Jobs Cut

07/15/08 | 1 comment

BP Invigorate

BP Proofreading

Last time I checked, “And helps keep them clean.” didn’t qualify as a sentence.

It Doesn’t Hurt to Double Check

07/06/08 | 2 comments

I got a straight flush during a poker game last week. Needless to say I bet confidently and forced everyone but one player out of the hand. And, for that privilege, I made him put everything he had into the pot to stay in.

It was just a friendly $10 buy-in game, but the pot still swelled to over $40. I could taste the win.

Unfortunatley, when I triumphantly flipped my cards, I found that my 8 of clubs was actually the 8 of spades. Apparently I had looked at it wrong and failed to double check before putting most of my chips into the pot. I lost. Ouch.

Think about how many mistakes could be avoided if everyone double checked their work, their facts, and…well…their cards.

Quiznos Survey: Who Writes These Things?

06/30/08 | 0 comments

Most fast food places use the back of their receipts to get you to take a survey, but I thought the Quiznos approach was kind of interesting. Observe:

Quizno's Receipt

If you visit the website, you get ten changes to win. TEN! Wow!

Of course, if there is only one winner per day, and everyone gets ten chances – then the odds of winning didn’t really change, did they? Very tricky, Quiznos.

But wait, maybe they did. What about the poor suckers that call to do the survey? They only get one entry into the contest. There’s a cost saving measure if I’ve ever seen one. I’m sure the online survey is much cheaper to administer. Again, well played, Quiznos.

I was going to end the post there, but I decided to do some investigative journalism (just for you), so I took both surveys (and not-so-coincidentally got 11 chances to win).

Last time I took an online survey I was very unimpressed. This one didn’t do much better. It was kind of entertaining though. Here are, without further ado, my top 5 questions / screens.

5) Surprise, I didn’t win.

Quiznos survey: loser

4) Despite asking the date I visited (two weeks ago), they wanted to know if I had purchased specific items “today.” I was tempted to say no across the board, but I decided to cut them some slack.

Quiznos Survey: Today?

3) They nailed it. I come to Quiznos for the visual enjoyment…

Quiznos Survey: Watch?

2) I’m not very health conscience. Do they really have to rub it in three times?

Quiznos Survey: Healthy?

1) And my favorite question: “Why not?” There was nothing proceeding it. I was just instructed to think about my recent visit.

Quiznos Survey: Why Not?

The phone survey was kind of clumsy as well. It took about 6 minutes and “using my touch tone phone,” I had to type in half the info from my receipt before I could start. There were many of the same questions, but it was definitely shorter. My favorite part was in the middle of the survey when they said:

“Tell us why or why not you enjoyed your visit so that we can improve.” Then, with no warning: beep – it was recording.

My answer? “I liked watching my meal being made.”

No long surveys : subscribe in a reader

PS. The new site is finally up. Go check it out.

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David Rauch runs the show at PostcardPerfect (check out this post for details). He has five years of corporate experience, an MBA, and a fair amount of entrepreneurial experience under his belt. This blog is much less about postcards as it is about his thoughts on business, marketing, and communication. Enjoy.


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When Narrow Focus is Bad Advice
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A Look at The Sullivan Nod
Things That Keep Me Up At Night
Table That Idea

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