Money to burn – A Virgin direct marketing logic fail?

If he knew, I bet Richard Branson would be miffed… 
An expensive piece of direct marketing nonsense arrived through the post from Virgin last week, telling us they’ve added TV on Demand to our package. We’ve been on-demanding stuff for a while now, which makes the whole thing slightly puzzling. But that isn’t the point. I’m more taken aback by by the pack’s high production values and elaborate creativity.

Loads of lead generation money spent on an existing customer

Even if we weren’t already customers, is there really a good marketing reason for going to such lengths to tell us something so simple? Or am I catching a whiff of big creative agency bollocks on the breeze? I suspect the latter.
Here’s some detail about the pack:

  • The envelope is a non-standard shape and size, more expensive than normal to produce. It’s bright red, striped inside and sealed with a printed sticker
  • Inside there’s a printed paper bag, red and white stripes, a bit like an old fashioned sweetie bag, with a printed sticker on the front laser-personalised with my partner’s first name
  • Inside there are eight thick die cut cardboard sweets printed one side in  full colour, the other side one colour, each with a different image and TV programme details
  • There’s also a non-standard size flier with a die-cut sweetie shape at the top, another expensive print and production job

Overly elaborate and excessively creative?

It’s elaborate stuff. There’s no selling, no offer for a service or product. In a case like this wouldn’t a simple postcard do the trick?

A jolly decent chap

I like Richard Branson. He strikes me as a decent chap and I admire his brand. But in this case the marketing logic doesn’t stack up. If I were him I’d descend on the marketing department in question for answers… in the nicest possible way.