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The Serious Business of Funny Email

It’s no secret that using humour is a powerful marketing strategy that marketers can use to attract and acquire new customers. Every day we’re likely to see a whole raft of ‘funny’ ads, the collective effort of creative teams who have worked very hard to come up with them.

I’m sure that you have, at least once in your life, been attracted to the products or services of a company because their marketing material made you laugh. (The same can be said of marketing material that is intended to make you cry, but that’s another blog post…)

But what about using humour to retain customers? Which companies are making their current customers laugh for all the right reasons?

A little company called CD Baby is.

Until a few weeks ago I had never even heard of CD Baby. I stumbled across them while trying to find out where to purchase the debut CD from a Canadian band I admire, Delhi 2 Dublin. It turned out that their CD was available at CD Baby, an online music retailer that calls itself "the little store with the best new independent music."

"Cool," I thought to myself. I quickly found and ordered the CD on CD Baby’s Website, and then promptly moved on to the next item on my to do list.

The next day, I got an email from CD Baby confirming that my CD had been shipped. This was no ordinary email, however. While most e-tailers send confirmation emails to customers once a product has been shipped – which is a best practice – this was the funniest and most memorable order confirmation email I have ever received.

Here’s an excerpt:

"Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow…

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package…"

So as not to spoil the surprise should you ever become a customer of CD Baby and receive one of these emails, I have left out some of the email’s content.

Not only did I laugh out loud when I read this email, but I immediately showed it to my wife (who was sitting near me at the time). "Wow. That makes me want to buy from them," she said. I couldn’t agree more.

Thanks to the clever use of humour in their order confirmation email, CD Baby not only forged a tighter bond with me as one of their current customers, but they also motivated me to share my positive experience with prospective customers – first my wife, and now you.

And that’s nothing to laugh at.


  1. Benjamin Boudreau
    Benjamin Boudreau March 24, 2008

    Thanks for the heads up abut CD Baby. My most recent favourite is the tree-planting website:
    Their material is fantastic whether you’re skimming the website or reading the thank you email.

  2. eddy email
    eddy email April 13, 2008

    Bill a serious question, as much as I find that email entertaining; do you think that those ‘silver surfers’ are also going to ‘get it’? No that they receive a non-gold lined box and start kicking up a fuss…

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