Spring Black Friday is SO FETCH OMG

So, remember how last May, Lowe’s sent a bunch of emails about a Spring Black Friday promotion (which was ridiculous, lasted over several weekends, and made zero sense)?

The Home Depot thought it would be a good idea to rip off that idea and use it for themselves this year:


Like, can you not? They followed the exact same formula that Lowe’s did last year – they spread it out over a few weeks (April 7-19 in this case). The emails aren’t anything special or different from their normal emails (probably – I don’t ever read them). The legal language in the emails is almost as long as the actual emails. And, oddly, the layout of these emails is really similar to the Lowe’s emails as well.

Last year, Lowe’s sent their campaign in May, so I’m almost wondering if this was Home Depot’s attempt to sabotage the Lowe’s campaign for this year. If so, that’s pretty sketchy (and confusing, since it was a terrible idea to begin with).

Dear Big Box hardware stores,

You don’t need to do this. This is your time of year to shine – it’s spring. It’s warm out in most places. People are spending lots of time outside in their yards and, you know, improving their homes. You don’t need to stoop to this level to create false urgency – this is a really logical time of year for people to shop at your stores. ~Build~ better marketing campaigns, please.


Email Snarketing


Countdown to Mother’s day: Weird messaging

I’ve received about 70 emails specifically about Mother’s day (in this account) since April 7 (maybe more, I dunno. They all blur together.). Some of the emails have been helpful, some have been overkill, and some have been flat-out weird. Here are the weirdest.


I realize that Mother’s day is a pretty big deal for flower companies. Flowers are probably the easiest/most obvious Mother’s day gift there is. And flowers can get pricey, so it totally makes sense that frequent discounts are a great way to market them. That doesn’t make it okay for them to violate CAN-SPAM. But even before the broken unsubscribe link incident, some of their Mother’s day messaging was already on my list for this post.

First, they’ve been playing around with different from names/icons in from names. Okay, fine. But as someone who hasn’t purchased from you yet, this can be confusing. Why are you calling me a VIP? What, exactly, makes ME a “great customer”? If I’m a great customer (me, someone who doesn’t order flowers from you and instead writes cranky blog posts), I’m a little concerned about the stability of your business.

proflowers from name

Here are some of their recent subject lines from the last few weeks:

  • 4/24: LAST CHANCE! Prices go up for Mother’s Day Tomorrow – Get The Best Deal on Mom’s Bouquet: Save up to 44%
  • 4/26: Thanks for being a great customer. Here’s up to 52% off Mother’s Day bouquets
  • 4/28: 57% off. ProFlowers tested, Mother’s Day approved
  • 4/29: ✿ Stunning bouquets for Mom, from $19.99!
  • 4/30: You only have ➊ week left to Avoid Rush Delivery Rates. Don’t wait!
  • 5/1: URGENT: Last Chance for a $19.99 Special for Mother’s Day!
  • 5/2: Get 61% off this Mother’s Day Email Exclusive. Through This Weekend Only!
  • 5/2: Oops! We fixed our links. Please accept an Extra 25% off for any inconvenience!
    (That one may have been a direct result of an interaction I had with them on Twitter….)
  • 5/3: Don’t Forget Mom! Save 54% and Avoid Rush Delivery Rates
  • 5/4: Only 3 Days Left to Avoid Rush Delivery Rates and Save 52%
  • 5/5: Use Your $20 Mother’s Day Credit…

I wonder if their copywriter’s mother ever read him/her “The Boy who Cried Wolf.”

It’s hard to take any of these extremely urgent subject lines seriously, especially since they’ve already shown a pattern of offering increasingly better discounts. The $20 credit seems like the best deal so far. They have a minimum purchase price of $29.99 (so that $19.99 special from 4/29? It’s an upselling trick to get you to add on chocolates and a colorful vase), but if the $20 credit counts toward that, it might actually be worth ordering some flowers. Maybe I will.  (Does that mean their emails worked, or does it mean I’m just curious to see what kind of messaging they’ll send next year since they’d have some info about me and who I might send flowers? I’ll just say it’s the latter.).



I hope you’re not buying anything more than a card as a Mother’s day gift from Walgreen’s, but if you are, they have some interesting suggestions. The subject line is probably something most people can relate to – Hey, I ❤ Mom too! Maybe this email will have something relevant to that.

Let me just stress that while I did my weird campy spliced screenshot method, this is the full email. I didn’t accidentally forget to take a screenshot of the copy explaining that fragrances might be a good gift idea for Mom. I didn’t cut out any kind of sub-head that might have said, “Okay, now we’re moving on to feature other products we also sell. Don’t buy Rogaine for your mom for Mother’s day.” Nope, the full email is right here for your viewing pleasure.

Subject line: We ♥ Mom15% OFF ALL Fragrances + Other Deals | 20OFF Contacts


walgreens2_05052014 walgreens3_05052014 walgreens5_05052014 walgreens6_05052014

But seriously – don’t buy your mom Rogaine for Mother’s day.

For Mother’s day, I got you an unsubscribe link from Proflowers emails

Yesterday morning while I was in the waiting room for an eye exam, my best friend texted me:


Uh oh. I had a ton of emails from Proflowers in my “to write about” label in my Gmail account, because they had been pretty persistent with their Mother’s Day emails. They’ve been trying a bunch of weird tactics with icons in their from name and going pretty over the top with their urgency messaging. So I was already planning a post about them for next week when I do my Mother’s day roundups.

proflowers from name

But a CAN-SPAM violation? Now THAT gives me a sense of urgency.

I checked the link from my phone to be sure, and there it wasn’t. I could SUBSCRIBE to their emails, but the only thing remotely resembling an unsub was a preference center. I clicked on that, and the link didn’t work.

(I was planning on putting a screenshot of their footer here, but the font was such a light shade of grey that it’s almost impossible to read. But that could be due to me testing out a new contacts prescription).

So like any modern email subscriber activist (Is that a thing? Can we make that a thing? Hashtag #emaillorax), I took to Twitter to see what’s up. Mind you, I never asked to unsubscribe.

proflowers twitter

This isn’t my first online run-in with this company. A few years ago, my boyfriend (now husband!) sweetly ordered me flowers for Valentine’s day to be sent to my office. He gchatted me around 5 PM and asked if I got them. They never came. So, trying to be a good boyfriend, he just went to a local florist and got me other flowers. There were a few missed deliveries over the next few days. I was mad at Proflowers for making him worry about it (and for me not getting flowers at work on Valentine’s day), so I wrote a post on my blog at the time, and eventually people from their customer service team contacted me, gave him a refund and sent me free flowers in March. (Which was awkward when my coworkers asked about them. “Oh, they’re for Valentine’s day! I just got them!”). So, yes, they screw up sometimes, but they do try to make it right.

Yesterday afternoon, hours after all the twitter action, I got this email:

proflowers oops email

They didn’t exactly acknowledge that it was the unsubscribe link that was broken (but for all I know, there were others), but they at least had in fact fixed the preference center link. And they had an opportunity to have another touchpoint with their subscribers. Not that they’ve been remotely conservative in that department – I’ve gotten nearly daily emails from them in the last few weeks, and they’re all pretty “urgent.” They keep saying that it’s the last chance to get a certain discount, and then sending a better discount 2 days later. I’ll look at all of them after Mother’s day and see when the best discount actually happened.

Once I got to the preference center, it was actually pretty nice – it lets you opt-down for email frequency, and you can check if you want promotions for holidays (which is what I’ve been getting). It even allows you to select to receive reminders based on previous purchases, which seems like a great idea for birthdays and anniversaries.

So, Proflowers – we’re okay now. But I’ll be watching you.




It’s alright, ’cause I’m (referencing) Saved by the Bell

I’m still digging through and categorizing emails, but I just came across this one from last week.

It’s obviously incredible.

Subject line: Screeeech: it’s sneaker time!

screech powers

I don’t even really wear sneakers (or anything remotely athletic, really, unless you count the yoga pants I’m wearing right now that have never been to a yoga class), but this email makes me want to go outside and ride a bike. Or do a sport (if I only knew how to sport…). I’m not even 100% sure that I get the “Screech” reference/ play on words (they’re talking about the sound sneakers make while engaging in physical activity in a sporting facility, no?).

But the important thing is, they referenced the universal ’90s nostalgia jackpot: Saved by the Bell. Their target audience is definitely people in the age group that would appreciate it. And it’s kind of subtle. People probably don’t necessarily remember Screech’s last name from the show (it’s Powers), but it’ll sound familiar enough that they’ll google it. At least, I did.

Back to digging through emails.