Scout Case Study: Amazon's Weird Postcard


For all of our clients we always tell them, it's much better to send 100 cards 3 times over 8 weeks than 300 cards 1 time. Amazon knows this, too. But Amazon just got a little too confident in themselves that they designed their postcard to be cheeky instead of convincing.Here we go.

Amazon's trick is to try and confuse the hell out of you with their postcard

What the HELL is this!? You have no idea what the hell this is about. Here is how Amazon thought about this card. Step 1, let's put this burger in a purple box. Yea, that was important. Then they said our headline should be about a burger. What if I'm a vegetarian!? I mean I live in San Francisco so it's basically 50/50 here. Now they want me to learn something for a burger. Which, if you noticed, is really a CHEESE burger. Not just any burger. I would have appreciated some specificity.I JUST SAW IT. I JUST SAW IT. See the Amazon logo in the bottom right. If that was hidden any deeper there would have to be another Indiana Jones movie just to find that damn logo. This is the only indication we have that this postcard is from Amazon so far. As far as I know someone is spamming me with a picture of a cheeseburger. That's a pretty good spam message, but I don't need this in my life.For their life lessons. There are four. Be open to trying new things. Presumably they are talking about being open to figuring out a cryptic cheeseburger. Don't tease me, tell me Amazon! All good things are messy? This is just a bad idea to me.This card says to me, whatever you are about to try is TERRRRRIIIBLLEE. It's just going to be bad. Maybe low expectation settings? Balance is important? What should I take from that? On balance, this postcard sucks. What matter is what's inside. This is the first message on this card I can really get behind. Maybe this postcard will be about valuing my self worth no matter how many cheeseburgers I get. I DO often have to remember that after I eat a cheeseburger and feel like the Roman army has invaded my stomach.

At least half of Amazon's postcard makes sense.

Alright so now that that really weird burger message is over with, what is this postcard trying to get me to do. Here are my thoughts on this side of the card.

  1. The logo is in color and up front. So I know it's a brand I trust.
  2. FREE is in caps. I love that, always make FREE in caps.
  3. The money is the biggest thing. MONEY SHOULD ALSO BE IN CAPS.
  4. They should have toned down the "your first order" bit. Don't send it to me if I've already ordered before.
  5. MAILNOV2 is a great code. They sent it to me twice. It's in November. It's easy to track.
  6. I like the legalese. It's super small, but it has an expiration date and tries to up sell me on Prime.

Overall I like this side of the postcard, it's designed with industry best practices. The problem with the front is that folks were asked to designed too many postcards in a row and they stopped caring. That's when they all got into a room and ideated. The folks at Amazon said, how can we break out of the mold and do something weird and off the wall?When conversations begin that way you hit a home run about as often as Congress does. It's best to get creative when explaining your service (like the Jack in the Box example) instead of... how can we show something almost 100% unrelated to what we do and hope people will connect the dots.

Here's how Amazon could have made a WEIRD postcard work

I don't often like to provide free creative help (that is why folks hire us, after all). This postcard was so damn bad I had to broadcast this to Amazon.If they really wanted to go weird this is exactly how I would have done it. Here's why I implore Amazon to steal my weird idea.

  1. It invokes drone delivery, which Amazon is known for wanting to start.
  2. It also showcases this is about food delivery and the recipient is just living their life (ultimate convenience).
  3. It invokes speed and just how ubiquitous Amazon is in the restaurant delivery space (idealistic today).
  4. It has subtle Amazon branding and the text reinforces that this is about delivery.

I'm not saying this is the end all be all greatest postcard Amazon could come up with... but I spent < 2 minutes on this and I didn't even bring our designer in on this. Amazon, hire me and I'll make your postcards weird in much better ways.

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