Junk mail for the soul

I like junk mail. It’s not that I am persuaded to buy things that are advertised or that I rely on mailbox ads to inform or influence my purchasing decisions. I just like to see how people are willing to spend direct mail budgets for promotion to consumers. Sorting through the flyers and envelopes tells me that my local economy isn’t dead. It makes me hopeful for the future. I get the usual stuff, offers for painting, maid service, check printing, local restaurant coupons. It’s all pretty mundane, but comforting. Every once in a while though, I get something that makes me sit back and say, “What the —-?”
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CB2: thoughts?

So like probably a lot of other good consumers, I just got an email from Crate and Barrel about CB2, which is clearly their new hipper! younger! brighter! (slightly) cheaper! brand. So far there’s only one store (Chicago) but the ecommerce site is pretty good. But some of the products are a bit wack if well-intentioned. If I surfed here too much, David and I would end up with a lot of cool stuff that doesn’t really fit our house all that well.

It’s clearly a reaction to last year’s launch of West Elm by Williams-Sonoma as a hipper East Coast offset to PB‘s crushingly expensive simulacra of West Coast trust fund decor. (My feeling about West Elm is, “great if you like that sort of thing.” It also fairly screams “lipstick lesbian” with all those purple sequins.) It also feels like a bit of a feint towards the Design Within Reach market. All of these brands are desperately shouting “Put down the IKEA catalog now, and nobody gets hurt!”

Oh, yeah. This is a new category: Consume or Consumerr? As in, is this something you’d want, or something that looks like a grevious error from the net guy to be fired from Product Dev? (I’m hoping this category will finally lure Marti to post and not just comment.) Have fun with it!