Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing

The problem with hamsters, gerbils and other things that scurry is that right about the time you finish paying for the 4 km of plastic tubing and the special organic food, they drop dead. Likely of exhaustion.

Then you get to spend Sunday night having the Circle-of-Life talk with an inconsolable five-year-old, instead of watching Downton Abbey and eating the Hallowe’en candy you found under the chesterfield.

I think we’re clear regarding my position on captive rodents. I think we also know how much I love getting packages in the mail.

Here are two things that arrived recently from the Trinket Quarter. One of them was a near miss in the things that scurry department.

“Hi, Elizabeth, it’s Carol at reception. There’s a package here for you. It may be a guinea pig.” Well who doesn’t do a bit of scurrying themselves to see how this plays out?

Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing image not a hamster 1 revPirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing

This could hold a guinea pig, but my money was on hamster. Carol raised an eyebrow as we both realized how depraved it is to send an animal to somebody at work. “Best not open that here”, she said. It was a warning, not a suggestion.

Suitably worried, I resisted the urge to shake it — don’t want to anger whatever’s in there, especially since there don’t seem to be enough air holes.

Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing image not a hamster 3Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing

Of course there’s no hamster. But there’s a bunch of crumpled paper, so there might have been a hamster at one point. Here’s a brochure to explain it all.

Oh, I get it. It’s random sh*t by mail to sell trinkets. And look how clever! The box is meant to be a little house on account of the name of the company. Well let’s see what sample of their unique offering they’ve sent along to make me feel special. Kinda small. Must be something lovely.

Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing image not a hamster 5 e1370184285758Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing

Well it’s a keyring. A $1.35 keyring (I have ordered these before and that’s how much they cost, plus they fall apart about a month later). The bag it came in is worth more and has more utility. Plus, even if I were inclined to use this, it’s not a thing I’m going to use at work, when I’m thinking about insulting gifts for customers. It’s going to live in a purse or a drawer until I forget what the key is for and throw them both out. So how are they going to make this pay? Is there an offer? A call to action? A business card? Negative.

They must be planning a telephone or email assault to follow up. None came. Not ever.

So let’s break this down: Their cost on the keyring was maybe a buck. The box is easily a buck. Tissue, brochure, printing etc. another $2.00. Then let’s remember this was hand-delivered. Even the most sullen teenager these days is getting $10 an hour, and since this came in the middle of a work day, I’m going to guess that the delivery cost was, conservatively, in the $5 range. We’ll assume this company put the packages together themselves. Total cost on this is at least $9.00. They would have done better to mail me a cheque.

If you’re this company and you’re reading this, I’m open to the cheque thing but please don’t send me any more key rings.

Now here’s one that works.

Same concept but executed much better.

This collection arrived in a non-descript shipping box by regular post. It cost $3.90 to mail.

Like its homey counterpart, this one is themed and it’s about pirates. Personally, I’m a Ninja girl so the pirate thing isn’t going to resonate but let’s keep going.

Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing image good mystery package 2Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing

A little treasure map; how cute. Don’t care. What’s next?

It’s a plastic pirate bear thing that, get this, shoots little foam balls out its nose. You don’t have to like pirates to dig a booger-shooting bear that’s safe to use at work. Guess where this goes? On my desk. I’m not letting my grubby children anywhere near this sweet thing.

Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing image good mystery package 1 e1370184157877Pirates vs. Hamsters: Two Random Acts of Trinket Marketing

Plus it comes with chocolate candy coins, which I fed to a product manager. And it comes with a business card so I can call and get more booger bears.

How did they make this pay? The costs on this are probably about the same. I’m thinking those bears are around $2.00 plus the coins and the cool map so the contents of the box are around $5.00 and the delivery was a little less than $4 so total of around $9.00.

But here’s what they got for their $9.00: They got a thing, with their company name on its tummy, that is going to be on my desk until I lose all the little boogers, which should be at least a year. They followed up a few days later by phone and we had a lovely chat. So now I’m a sales-qualified lead they can work over. Plus when people come to visit me, they inevitably pick up booger bear and play with it while we chat. Some of these people are trinket-orderers too. Good campaign. Here is the company if you are interested.

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