The Ol’ Blank Envelope Scam


I got another blank envelope in the mail today.  It had the name of a nondescript company I’ve never heard of and the urgent message: Immediate Response Requested.

Other than that, nothing. Not a word.

I can imagine the concept meeting for this work of genius:

“Our new marketing message, our foot-in-the-door of the prospect’s mind, is:  ‘Immediate Response Requested.’”

Gasps of awe in the room.

“That’s right. We’ll hook’em with the Old Blank Envelope. The rubes can’t help themselves.”

Yes they can, if their IQ is above 75.

What a blank envelope says to me is that the marketing campaign for this product was done on the cheap. Maybe they took the 40-40-20 rule a little too literally and decided to just skip the -20.

More likely, they just didn’t do the Work. They’re lazy AND cheap and their knowledge of their own product is minimal.

I didn’t open the envelope. I never do. It’s a matter of principle.

And the principle is this: Apes are curious, simple creatures. If you’re selling to apes, use a blank envelope. It’ll get “opened.” People are complicated creatures. Their curiosity is stimulated by an infinite variety of urges, desires, whims, obsessions, sins, and virtues. If you can’t bother to engage people on a human level by matching your product to one or more of those wonderful things, your product isn’t worth my interest—and probably not worth the interest of very many people.

If the best you can do for your product is “Immediate Response Required,” you haven’t really thought about what your product can do for people and why they would want that benefit. So it’s probably an inferior product.