Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nestle want to sell food to my dead dog.

Three years ago Bandit, our much loved blue heeler cross, died. My wife had found her as an neglected puppy on the streets of Cairns. For sixteen years Bandit was her constant companion. When we moved in together, Bandit came with her. When our children were born, Bandit was the embodiment of canine tolerance.

When Bandit passed in 2007, we felt like we'd lost a member of the family. Because we had.

Then yesterday, my wife received a spam email from pet food manufacturer Purina, a division of Nestle. It was charmingly addressed to Bandit.

Amongst other things, the nice people at Purina gave helpful advice on what Christmas foods Bandit should avoid this Christmas and how to manage her fear of fireworks (a great tip in a country where fireworks have been banned for decades).

The spam then goes on to gush about a local lost dog's home, and the brand's proud and sincere support of it.

At the top is the Purina tagline 'Your Pet, Our Passion' and the spam is signed off 'Your Friends at Purina'.

The world groans at the seams with astoundingly stupid and thoughtless marketing. But most stupid and thoughtless marketing is, by it's very stupidity and thoughtlessness, invisible and ignoreable. The only damage done is to a marketing budget and an investor's dividend.

This makes me want to burn something to the ground. Something Purina-shaped.

Sending spam emails to dead dogs is just about as insensitive as a pet food can get. Slapping Australian references on an American eDM is just about as lazy as a marketer can get. And faking empathy is far nastier than being properly and corporately selfish.

Maybe I'm over-reacting. Maybe this is just a sign of the times, and we should just put up with it.

Or maybe it is a virulent and dangerous strain of marketing-degree moronism that should be bundled in a hessian bag filled with bricks and thrown in the nearest river.

The floor is open...