A Branded Birthday

by Amy Yen

My birthday is this Sunday, something I’m trying hard not to think about as I get dragged with great reluctance toward late-twenties-dom. Happily, I have been getting some well wishes in the mail that I can actually get behind. Every year it seems, more and more brands jump on the loyalty program/club card train & thusly, I’ve been getting birthday gifts in the form of gift cards & special discounts from all my favorite brands for the last two weeks.

A free mascara kit here, $10 off a pair of shoes there, suddenly getting older doesn’t seem so bad. It’s actually been quite nice, getting a little gift from my favorite retailers & restaurants in the mail or my inbox every day. It really does kind of feel like an old friend dropping in with warm wishes, in the form of a free entree, on my special day. And it works…I mean, hey, I don’t need anything from Sephora, but as long as I’m there to pick up my free mascara, I might as well get myself some lip gloss, right? Look, nothing makes me feel more warm & fuzzy about your brand than giving me free stuff.

So what I guess I’m saying is, in this day of corporate Facebook pages & Twitter contests, direct marketing still counts for something. And just because I know I’m getting this lovely 40% off birthday certificate because you have my name in a database, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the thought.