It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on the Junkmail Project. Rest assured, I haven’t lost interest yet. I’m still keeping track, I’ve just been a little too busy to summarize the progress recently due to traveling. Thankfully, even though I’ve been on the road, those who have picked up my mail in my absence have done a great job of keeping each day’s bounty separate from the next. (Thanks Mom and Sis!)
Before I get into the meat of the update, I want to take a moment to keep the record “fair and balanced.” (No apologies to FoxNews.) In my last post I harped on the Budget/Avis car rental company for a cheap, underhanded direct mail piece they sent me. Lest you get the impression that I think all direct marketing and “junkmail” I get is the spawn of Satan, I’d like to highlight a positive piece as well.
A few days after my Budget rant, the fine folks at Gillette sent me a free Fusion razor. I’d never bothered buying the fabled 6-blade razor in the store because, well, quite frankly I thought the concept was ridiculous. It seems that every time the razor manufacturers are ready to one up each other, they just tack another blade or two on the end of the shaver and give it a funny new name. My three blade razor did the job just fine. (Especially now that I work at home and don’t generally bother to shave until the scruff grows out to the point it starts to itch.) This is just a way to part those looking for the latest/greatest thing from their money, right?
Well, the free razor did the trick. I laughed at first, but this razor is pretty slick. And it has lasted longer than my triple slicer model usually does. I mocked the three blade razor before I switched. I suppose I’ll think twice about making fun of the 37 blade razor that’s sure to come out next month. For the cost of an item that retails at about nine bucks (and probably cost them about a buck to produce and mail) they’ve bought a long-term customer in me. Why can’t more companies take such straightforward marketing approaches? Kudos Gillette. Thanks for believing in your product enough to let consumers make an honest choice. Great job. (See Dad, not all of us professional marketers are evil.)
Now, back to the rapidly filling junk box in my home office…
As of this update, there have been 56 days of mail delivery this year. I have received almost exactly 8 kilograms (17.6 lbs.) of mail, and of that 4.9 kilograms (10.8 lbs.) of that has been pure unsolicited junk. The bulk of that non-spam weight has been magazines.
I’m starting to wonder if I should have included periodicals (that I actually subscribe to) in this count, as it seems to skew the overall total making the spam look proportionally smaller — especially since I’ve subscribed to a fantastic, but thick and heavy new photography magazine. (You can vote for my recent submission to the magazine here.)
But, at the same time that I recognize the shift the magazines put on the mail totals, my journalistic roots give me faith that you, dear reader, are intelligent enough to decide for yourself just how much it matters. So the category will stay.
Looking at the graph above, you can see that Pac Man’s bulimia has gotten worse in the last couple of months. Because of the increase in magazines (the green) he has to open a little wider to get it all out, but he still comprises about two-thirds of the overall chart himself. Personal correspondence and account-related mail still only makes up about 8% of the total volume. (If you want to compare, the original graph can be found here.)
To provide a little perspective, this washing machine doesn’t have enough capacity to wash all of the unsolicited mail I’ve received so far in a single load.