Using all your assets in the most efficient way is a must in a competitive industry such as email marketing. With other companies dogging your heels a campaign that puts a little space between you and the chasers will be a big relief, if only for a short time. However, you need to balance the risks carefully. Take Jawbone, the manufacturer of smartwatches.
You might well have read on the BBC online news channel of the company's latest email marketing campaign, designed to tap into Father's Day last minute purchasing. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36487393
It evidently set Twitter alight. Many people seemed to take offence over the Subject Line: Re: Your Father, claiming that it was insensitive and distressing for those who had lost their father. If one has the time to review the Twitter posts, it will be discovered that those who hadn't lost a father were also critical of the email marketing campaign.
We all know that it takes little to start a Twitter campaign, although having it about a product of yours seems to be a major task. So there must be something positive to learn from this one.
I'm not too sure. If the idea was to get the name of Jawbone to the world's attention then it has succeeded, and beyond their wildest. However, this was a permission-based email marketing campaign so given that those both with and without fathers were angered then that would include everyone on the email marketing list. There lies the problem.
That said, perhaps the company knows its customers. Maybe this is one of many near-the-knuckle campaigns with borderline taste as a leader. But perhaps not.
The other matter which is risky is the use of Re: This was intended to give the impression of a forwarded email. It had the dual problem of making some people think it was about their father, and they were concerned something had happened to them. Even those with robust fathers might wonder why they were being deceived.
The dream of world-wide syndication of their company name, and the product, might now have turned into a nightmare. Take care out there.