Thursday, October 8, 2009

Targeted Marketing Gone Too Far

Targeted advertising freaks me out. I google one thing out of curiosity, or update my Facebook profile, and I get super specific ads popping up on my sidebars for weeks (P90X, Online Education Degrees, ShamWows...) "They" know too much, and to make matters worse, I don't even know who "they" are. It's creepy.

I am thankful that I know that it happens, although I'm not particularly clear on the how part. In an online group that I am a member of, a young mom once posted that she was furious that her very young daughter's favorite educational website was displaying "adult" themed advertisments. Other moms posted advice ranging from "Call and complain!" to "Call a Lawyer!" No one had the heart to mention that she should talk to her husband about viewing porn on the computer. I sure didn't. I hope she was let down gently, whatever route she chose to take.

However, this week, targeted marketing has gone too far. It was bad enough when Ladies' Home Journal showed up in my mailbox, but now... tampons? Really? It's even creepier that I just recently got my monthly visitor back (the one and only greatest thing about pregnancy and extended breastfeeding, other than a happy little baby, of course). HOW did "they" know this? Tooooooo much information! Sure, maybe it's just a crazy coincidence that this is the time that a Playtex sample box showed up in my mailbox, but that doesn't make for a very good blog post. I maintain that it's super creepy.

The creepiest part was the literature that came in the packet. There was a postage-paid card to send in for a chance to win a $250 Visa Gift card. I was reading the fine print (I'm a freak), when this sentence popped out at me- "We will contact you within a few months to see how you enjoyed your Playtex tampons." What?!?! There are several verbs I could think of to associate with tampons, but enjoy? What kind of freak enjoys a tampon? Who are these people? And how did they get my address?

Yep, targeted marketing freaks me out.