New marketing is in town, and it’s somewhat creepy. My mother recently received a letter in the post, enclosed was a newspaper clipping and a hand-written Post-it note telling her that the contents of the newspaper clipping may be of interest to her, the note was signed off simply as J. Luckily for my mum she has a son with a keen eye for type.

Anatomy of Type

Below is the note in question. At first glance it would appear to be a hand-written note, but on closer inspection it is clear to see that it is, in fact, a typeface. To give the appearance of being hand-written some of the letters have been scaled differently, rotated and the kerning has been tweaked.

Post-it Note

Notice the similarities between the ‘F’s, ‘O’s and the descenders on the ‘G’s and ‘Y’s. Also, the unusual ‘U’ is identical throughout. If we now compare this hand writing with the writing on the letter there’s plenty of text for cross-analysis. If you click on the letter below you can see a much larger version.

Hand-written Letter

On further inspection of the letter there is no question that this is a mass marketing mail-shot that has been designed to look personal. If you look closely the ‘Campbell’s are identical and the longer you look the more similarities you will come across.

The Message

The newspaper clipping was about a ‘marketing guru’ called Chris Cardell and included a picture of Cardell alongside Duncan Bannatyne. The sole purpose of this article was to drive the recipient to where they would receive “hundreds of pounds worth of information at no cost”.

Front Page of Newspaper Clipping

Front Page of Newspaper Clipping

Back Page of Newspaper Clipping

Back Page of Newspaper Clipping

New Marketing

Is this the future of marketing? This can only be seen as a deceptive ploy to get people to register interest in someone’s product or service. Instead of wasting time and resources to target thousands and thousands of people with the same marketing message Cardell’s approach was to spend a little more time on the design of the message to make it look more personal. Seth Godin says in ‘All Marketers Are Liars’:

Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe.

However, I don’t think this is what he meant.

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