Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving: Palin Pursues Opportunity

My wife, the family liberal, got a personal letter yesterday from newly famous Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Surely it was a personal letter. After all, it was addressed to her by name. The envelope had the seal of the state of Alaska with a return address of "Office of the Governor of Alaska."
Well, OK, maybe it wasn't a personal letter; the salutation said, "Dear Neighbor."
The pitch was to return an enclosed survey card and "receive an official Alaska travel guide—absolutely FREE." Then, once the guide was in hand, Gov. Palin said, "I hope you'll come to Alaska soon."
All in all, it was an interesting ploy. Trade on Gov. Palin's new fame to lure visitors to Alaska.
A modest risk comes from sending the solicitation to people already inclined to think Gov. Palin is a wacko. A few of these folks might be inclined to visit Alaska. Heightening the Alaska association with Gov. Palin might be sending them in another direction. Then there is the timing of the letter, no doubt done to capitalize on Palin's fame while it is still fresh. Given the distance from the Lower 48 to Alaska, I suspect that Alaska trips aren't exactly spur of the moment. But another issue affects travel timing to Alaska—winter. The forecast for Anchorage today is for a high in the mid-20s and another one to two inches of snow. I thought all this meant the letter was sent much too early to be useful. However, some folks with vacation planning experience say that significant vacations are planned six to eight months ahead. That means the timing is about perfect—just ahead of the holiday mail rush and in time for the travel guide to arrive in January.
One reaction to the letter is "good marketing."
From another person, the reaction is that, at some level, playing on the newly enhanced "political" name is just not ethical..
The letter does accomplish the task of boosting Gov. Palin's name identification while spending Alaskans' money.
My wife says she accepts Palin's invitation, so long as Palin pays for the trip.

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