Here’s an idea:

If I was an advertiser I would look for ways to surprise people in a good way. What if you ordered something from Amazon and when it arrived you were informed that the shipping had been refunded courtesy of Comcast. And while they were at it, they decided to let you know that you could sign up for HBO at 30% off?

Or, even better: You ordered Tucker‘s book on and he’d worked it out with Amazon to personally cover the shipping cost. “And in case you hadn’t heard, the book is being made into a movie and it hits theaters in Fall 2008. Here is a list of show times for your zip code.”

Seems to me like it’s better to get to the right people in the right way than ten times as many people in the easy, obnoxious way. But what do I know, a 2 million dollar SuperBowl commercial or advertising on the little conveyor belt dividers at the grocery store are great deals.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.