In the aftermath of the Scottish vote for independence, amongst the clatter of the victorious and defeated across the wore-torn fields of social media, a gem of a story emerged (posted by a friend of a colleague and swiftly circulated around the office).
Like all good stories, this one pivoted on a mistake. MADE.com, online furniture retailer, accidentally sent out a marketing email celebrating Scotland’s newfound independence. Oops.
The email read:
IN A NEW COUNTRY
Hot on the heels of our launch in the Netherlands just ten days ago, we’re pleased to announce that we’re now delivering to yet another new territory.
Welcome to MADE.COM Scotland.
To celebrate here’s £10 off orders over £100 with code AUCHAYE for any purchase before midnight on Sunday 21st September.
As a little patriotic inspiration for the newly independent country, take a peak at our selection of blue, Saltire-inspired products below.
Of course, they swiftly followed up with a humorous apology email welcoming Scotland back to the UK. No harm done.
But then I got to thinking. What if this was a deliberate mistake?
Call me cynical and perhaps I’ve been working in digital marketing for too long, but I couldn’t help but see the benefits of the error:
1) Two emails = more products showcased: the reader will have seen a wider range of the products available, but will feel like they have only had to engage with the brand once as technically they should never have seen the first email.
2) To err is human: Brands are constantly battling to shed their androgynous corporate appearance, in place of a more personable, human image. What’s more human than making errors? We’ve all done it, and as a result we feel empathy and are left reflecting positively on the experience.
3) Nobody is offended: to some it may appear like MADE.com were ready to exploit either outcome of the vote. But the upshot of this error is that MADE.com have avoided segregating their customers. They haven’t taken a side on a sensitive political matter, while managing to remain current.
4) Funny stories are shared more: the fact that I’m writing this blog is evidence of this campaign’s success. I don’t receive emails from MADE.com, but the comedy of the error means I have been reminded about the brand through the power of sharing.
Only MADE.com will ever know if the emails were a legitimate mistake, but the incident has shone a light on an alternative way of marketing to users who have become immune to the techniques of old.