I got this thing in the mail from a company called Veer. The cover slip said: “A giant hand. Angsty Cats. Rioting Models.”
How could I not open it?
It turned out to be a huge advertisement poster. It was so big that once I’d unfolded it, I had to lay it on a chair.
It looked like such a pain in the ass to fold it up again that I left it lying there and went and made coffee.
I was standing in the living room again a few minutes later deciding what to do with my Saturday morning, and I started absentmindedly reading some of the copy on the poster.
It was like I’d created a Veer billboard in my living room.
There was a picture of a sweatshirt I thought was kind of cool. Turns out it’s for sale at Veer’s website. (Veer’s primary business is selling stock photography, fonts, and other graphic design resources.) Then, a description of an animated short that sounded interesting, free to view on the site.
Next thing I know, I’m on my way to Veer’s website, looking for the sweatshirt and the film. Wow. They really got me, didn’t they!
In consideration of the web’s enormous power and ubiquitous presence as a commercial tool, I think this is a testimony to the continuing importance of things you can touch, that interpose themselves in our three-dimensional spaces.
But the story’s not over…
Veer’s website is down.
At this point, I’ve been so adroitly manipulated from being a complete bystander to actively seeking out this company that I’m sure this shutdown itself is also part of the strategy: a way to get me to come back on Monday and talk to someone at Veer, hooked in just a little deeper by thinking I’ve serendipitously ended up with this 10% discount opportunity.
Now I’m caught up in this interesting meta-story–curious about Veer’s tactical moves, wondering if they are being as deeply strategic as I’m imagining?
This whole interaction is an object lesson in the complexity of moving a potential customer back and forth between realspace and webspace, and how many interesting ways there are to go about pursuing this objective.
We’ll see if I use the 10% discount to buy a sweatshirt.