When I got home yesterday, this ad (which is actually just the front of a very involved mailer that opens up to have three more sales sheets inside) was waiting for me in the day’s mail. I’m used to getting ‘personalized’ mail that addresses me by name — often by the wrong name since I haven’t been called by my legal name since birth. But this was the first piece of direct mail that linked my name and my wife’s. Since I spend much of the day reading and thinking about databases, identification, and privacy, I wasn’t terribly creeped out about this, but Caroline clearly was, saying it was “excessively personal.” I don’t think the problem was the knowledge that someone knows we are together, since we haven’t made much secret of it for the last 26 years or so. Caroline also asked me to note that the necklace is very ugly.
The ad does make me wonder how often things like this turn up with the wrong name on it (fortunately, my wife’s name is indeed Caroline). Or just after people die, or break up. Could get ugly. Queue references to the famous Target incident.
Note to marketers: I believe that when we had the insides of our wedding rings engraved with our names we exhausted our demand for personalized jewelry.
I think the ugliness oddly reinforces the creepiness – as if they had engraved your name and the name of your loved one on a giant gold turd.
She is correct. It is creepy. But it is even uglier than it is creepy. And that they think she would want something that ugly makes it creepier.
But that does not make it surprising.