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Simple is smart

March 21, 2012

I have always been an advocate of simplicity.

If I want to promote something in an email campaign I would strive to make the offer and the call-to-action clear and simple. In marketing it is all well and good to be clever, but not if you’re the only person “clever” enough to get the message.

An email I received today demonstrated this point perfectly… well it at least proved too clever for me to “get it”.

The email came from a very nice hotel in Vienna. My wife and I spent a pleasant weekend there last year so on receipt of the email I thought I’d take a closer look.

The email was entitled “Celebrate your birth year in Vienna”. Intrigued I read on and learnt that were I to take up this offer I would pay Euro 259 per night for 2 nights and on the 3rd night pay “at rates equal to your birth year”. There was no further explanation.

I was born in 1974… did that mean I would pay Euro 1,974?!? That wouldn’t be a good deal.

Confused but still interested I clicked through to the website for clarification. There I found an example to help me understand:

"3rd nt equal to birthyear. E.g If born in 1955 and your companion in 1960 - 3rd nt is E115"

I was further confused. I spent 10 minutes staring at this until finally I realised that it was in fact quite simple and they were just removing the first 2 digits, so:

55 + 60 = 115

Maybe I am just too stupid, but the point remains the same. Were the offer clearer, perhaps we’d be heading to Vienna again. Instead, no holiday has been booked and I secretly resent that they have made me realise that I am stupid.

Posted by Alastair Campbell
General, Writing copy

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