And by “care package,” I mean “bomb.”

Beep, beep, beep... It's Hotmail! Image courtesy of Flickr user Cindy Seigle. Licensed under CC 2.0 BY-NC-SA.

Today Microsoft sent me a care package. It included: a pedometer, a thumb drive, a cork screw, bubble wrap, a book on origami, and an alarm clock. With the alarm going off.

You guys, Mail Services thought I had received a bomb.

Now, can you guess what product Microsoft was trying to advertise with this assortment of items? If you guessed the launch of the new Hotmail, you’re right. In addition, you must work for Microsoft’s marketing department, because there is no one else on Earth who could make that connection. It was a terrible package. For one,  the package was a giant waste of resources, shipping fuel, and manufacturing costs. The only part of it that I kept was the thumb drive–the envelope-shaped box, the corkscrew, the pedometer, the origami book, the alarm clock, and the bubble wrap all went to people sitting with me at lunch. Secondly, it was poorly-targeted. There is no demographic that likes all those things, and though they were all loosely tied to the launch (you can “hit the snooze button” because Hotmail is so fast, and the like), they were mostly confusing. I didn’t know what the box was for, and I had been sent an email about the launch three days ago with no mention of the box in it.

But the thing that set me off, aside from the general poor planning and execution of the campaign, was the god-damn alarm clock. Who in their right mind sends a beeping package through the mail? If nothing else, it was annoying the mail services employees, who are all lovely people and who are not paid to listen to Microsoft’s bad marketing go off all morning. But more than that, sending something that says “sketchy device! Maybe a bomb!” through the mail is a terrible idea. Continue reading