The Ephemeral Ephemera

I’ve worked on a number of campaigns and promotions involving coupons, and in every case, the copy and the design of the coupon was handled by someone outside the agency where I worked. You can already tell where this is going, can’t you?

I don’t understand why brands create artifacts that are from outside the interactive world of less quality than the online counterpart. This came to mind recently when I reviewed a coupon from the uPumpItUp community (not professionally, natch, but because I dig Mandy Lohan or whoever that is).

Here’s a sample of the coupon, minus its barcodes and with the big VOID upon it so you damn kids don’t go out and print a million of them:

A sample coupon
Click for full size

Notice that it’s off center, the brand lacks a serial mark, the URL has the wrong capitalization, and so on.

Man, if I had my druthers, I’d have applied the same high standards to the non-Web artifacts associated with the Web site. That means the copy would follow the style guide, it would lay out correctly, and everything else. However, in many cases, it’s designed and put together by someone else at another agency or at the coupon printing provider, so they get to slop more than anyone I could lay a hand on.

Do I have a lesson for you to learn? Sadly, not really. Companies ought to make sure these things mesh well, but they don’t.

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