A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy Shop, Editorial Emergency

#35 (December 18, 2009): Robot's Holiday

Once again we fly through your transom, sugarplum-fairy-style, a week earlier than usual. We have a feeling that the remainder of the month will find words like "newsletter" vanishing from your vocabulary, along with "meeting," "diet" and other terms rendered meaningless by the season. We hope you'll relish our last 2009 morsel of biz-related verbiage, which whips your autoresponders into shape, offers a heartfelt thank-you, proffers a gift idea well worth your holiday "Green" and bemoans the tormenting of Edgar Poe's legacy in Not Our Clients.

Autoresponders: Not the Boss of You

ImageAutoresponders. We all get them. Among other things, they allow us to avoid the digital version of this scenario:

You're dating a guy with a still-not-over-him ex. She responds to your courtship by going to the biggest newsstand in town and pulling out as many subscription cards as she can. She fills them all out with your name and address, checking the box that says, "Bill me later." Not only do you get billed for dozens of magazines you never ordered, but you find yourself on the junk-mail lists of the marketing partners of those magazines' publishers.

In the online universe, when you sign up for a blog or e-mail list or otherwise "opt in" to the electronic apparatus of someone disseminating information, you get an immediate response acknowledging receipt of your request to subscribe. That autoresponder will generally instruct you to click on a link in the body of its text to confirm your subscription. This prevents someone from signing you up for e-mail lists without your consent.

Read the rest here.

Thanks for Reading Our Newsletter.

ImageWe love to work on Editorializing — our brainstorming sessions, our fevered bursts of scribbling and revising, our lists of rejected captions for "Not Our Clients," and our geeked-out, overcaffeinated debates about matters too minute to discuss here. But we ADORE your feedback on our work, and we never tire of hearing that you look forward to reading the next issue.

We're champing at the bit (it really IS "champing," not "chomping") to bring you more newslettery nourishment in 2010. Until then, we wish you a gorgeous, relaxing, re-energizing holiday and a prosperous new year.

Round and Shiny: A "Green" Gift Idea

ImageMost holiday gift recommendations are for new things: shiny gizmos, hot-off-the-press novels, freshly minted DVDs. Instead, we're using this space to suggest an album that's more than 40 years old.

We recently discovered that a dear friend — whose knowledge of pop music is deep and wide — was unfamiliar with The Kinks' 1968 LP "The Village Green Preservation Society." Vicariously hearing it for the first time through him was delicious.

Released amid all manner of psychedelic ferment, revolutionary outcry and gender-bending flummery, "Village Green" is a rock oddity: a concept album about nostalgia.

Read the rest here.

Not Our Clients: Poe-Faced Edition

As you literary types are aware, 2009 marked the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birth. We've been celebrating for months, devouring Jeffrey Combs' staggering one-man show, "Nevermore: An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe," reading Kenneth Silverman's definitive Poe biography and holding DVD film festivals of Roger Corman's lurid '60s adaptations. So it's with a heavy (tell-tale) heart that we present the following:

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Nothing a dose of Quell can't handle.

Have you witnessed a similarly grotesque infestation of a cherished masterwork? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and nevermore will it go unrecognized. And if your purloined letter makes its way into the haunted palace known as Not Our Clients, we'll send you an iTunes gift card, which you can use to download "The Raven" — or just some Sheryl Crow.

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