I’ve never been one for cards. I rarely send them. I don’t believe in the extra holidays that have been created by greeting-card companies, like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. But I still bow to the pressure and spend my cold cash on expensive, disposable cards for the people who will punish me the most if they don’t receive them. But if there’s an extra hoop to jump through, like buying stamps and trying to find an address, forget it. That’s why I love the new Starbucks holiday campaign: I can send fantastic customized messages to everyone in my digital address book for free. And it’s easy. And it’s really really fun.
My favourite part is the phone integration. When you get to the personalized card page, you can call a (toll-free?) number and leave a message, answering-machine style. But as you press buttons on your phone, the website you are on updates in real time. The phone message is converted to a digital file, which is then embedded in your card. Not only that, but the sound file goes through some kind of analysis which is parsed by a flash movie and then applied to the lips of the character you choose. So as you hear your own voice in the preview of the card, you can watch a Chinese dragon, or a gingerbread man, or some other character, actually mouth the words.
Starbucks has chosen to listen to these messages, to make sure they are not death threats or abusive, which means each message sent is delayed for up to 48 hours. That’s the only real bummer, especially in this age of instant gratification. But like I mentioned earlier I never send e-cards, and I’ve already sent 3 in the first 10 minutes of interacting with itsredagain.com. Go check it out. And if you’d like, send a customized card to us at 1% and we’ll post our favourites. (email email@example.com)