You don’t really appreciate how much marketing there is for things like Father’s Day until you don’t have a father to celebrate.
Not that we, as a family, ever really did Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Grandparent’s Day or any of that. I mean, even Earth Hour would often find us with every light in the house blazing away, albeit unintentionally, undermining the whole affair.
But, obviously, this year I’m hyper aware of the whole thing. It’s the same with anything that has the slightest mention of cancer – even a horoscope can rub me up the wrong way, but that’s just a typical Taurian, or the countless adverts for funeral plans and end of life lump sum payouts. Up until the end of February they were just things, now they are constant reminders and bloody annoying ones at that. Also, why do these funeral plans always give away a free clock so that you can watch your remaining minutes on Earth tick away.
But I digress. Slightly.
Father’s Day this year will just come and go, I suspect. We won’t mention it, dwell on it or stand out in the garden holding lit candles in remembrance. It’s made trickier by the fact that it is adjacent to my mum’s birthday, so we’ll obviously be visiting and wotnot, but the father thing won’t come up. In much the same way as we all glossed over his birthday in April without any mention whatsoever.
But that still doesn’t make the marketing less annoying. And the email stuff is just awful. You open up your inbox to find, for example, an email asking my why I hate my father so much. Shit, I’d love the chance to hate him again. That would be awesome. But I can’t. But thank you, marketing email, for allowing me to feel shit that a part of me, a teeny tiny part, hates my dad for dying on us.
When you tick, or don’t tick depending on what trickery the website is using, that box that ends up with you on a mailing list you realise that it’s going to get on your tits every time you see an email, but you don’t think it’s going to make you feel awful because there’s been a change in your circumstances somehow.
What companies should offer you, the customer who subscribes to their newsletters and sometimes buys their products, is a service in which you can tweak the messages you receive. Take Facebook, for example. You can – or could, they’ve probably changed the notification settings sixty times since I last looked – adjust every notification you received. Emails? Alerts? Message alerts? Certain friends? All that. You could tailor the experience to suit you, the user.
So companies with marketing emails should apply a similar process. You sign up for the mailing list. It gives you the option, then, to tailor it to tell the company what it is you want to hear about. Do you want to know about gifts suitable for your mum, your dad, your children? Do you want to know every time there’s a sale? Do you want an email every time Tassimo are giving away a free T-disk rack (they are ALWAYS giving away a free disk rack. ALWAYS. ALL THE TIME. FOR EVER. Although sometimes it’s a glass mug that has no handle but conducts heat like a trooper)?
You should be able to update your preferences based on your life. I should have been able to go through my various email newsletters that I never remember signing up to but occasionally read, and ticked a box that said “maybe stay away from Father’s Day” or “I don’t care about your free disk holders!”
That way I wouldn’t be asked why I hate my father so much, or why I haven’t bought him the perfect gift this year.
I’d just be able to coast through to my mum’s birthday and ignore the other thing.