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Ken Magill

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Dear DMA: Your Little Ploy Didn't Work


By Ken Magill

Dear Direct Marketing Association:

Nice try.

As you probably know, as soon as I checked into the Fontainebleau in Miami for your email experience council’s annual conference last week, I did what I always do.

I went to the bar and ordered a vodka martini, a double Ketel One vodka martini to be exact. Then when the bartender handed me my drink, I had what my wife calls my second Smithsonian moment.

You see, a few years back we took our son to the Smithsonian. After seeing the Air and Space Museum, we went to the cafeteria for lunch.

I don’t remember specifics but we got some pieces of pizza, maybe a sandwich and a salad and some drinks. The total came to, like, $90 or some similarly insane amount.

I literally shrieked: “WHAT?!” in my best girl voice.

Now, I lived in Manhattan for a number of years so it’s not like I’ve never experienced higher-than-normal pricing, but this … this was obscene.

So the bartender hands me my drink at the Fontainebleau and says: “That’ll be $37.”

I didn’t shriek this time, but I think the hair on my head stood straight up and I might have peed a little.

I expect hotel drink prices to be high, but $37? And that didn’t even include the $5 tip. So all in all that drink cost me $42.

A server told me that Ketel One is the lowest priced of the high-end vodkas the Fontainebleau offers.

Fortunately for the blood vessels in my brain I didn’t order Belvedere or Grey Goose.

And fortunately, I had packed my own bottle of vodka. I bet you didn’t know that I always travel with my own liquor, did you DMA?

Then the next day comes around and I set out to find the conference. Little did I know that the Fontainebleau is, like, 73,000 square acres and my room was, like, 60 miles from the conference.

Okay, so I exaggerate, but not by much.

So I walked. And I walked. And I walked some more.

Then I broke out into a sweat. By the time I reached the conference, liquid was literally squirting out of my face and all I had to mop it up and keep it from shooting onto other people’s clothing were cocktail napkins.

The day after that, I was smart enough to bring a hotel hand towel to mop my face.

Then it hit me: $37 martinis? Super long walks to the conference? Those bastards are trying to get me to drink less and exercise more.

Well you’ve got to do way better than that. I’ve got drunken lard ass down to an art form.

You know what I did every night during the conference? I sat on my squillion-dollar hotel balcony in my boxers and smoked cigars and drank vodka by myself. That’s what I did.

You like that visual? No? Good.

And you wanna know what my bar bill for the entire conference was? $37, that’s what.



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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Nancy Arter
Date: 2013-02-13 20:19:16
Subject: LOL

I'm sure you had a fabulous time at the conference. I, for one, am glad that the DMA's ploy worked because you provided me with some great humor late on a Tuesday! Nicely done!
Posted by: Stephanie Miller
Date: 2013-02-12 19:01:20
Subject: You caught us!

Darn, Ken. We here at the DMA thought we were being very subtle on that "drink less, excercise more" trick. But you are more than a match for us! Seriously, we apologize for the insanity of the prices at that hotel. It was not our intention to blow everyone's budget. We will not be returning to hotels like that in future, no matter how lovely the beach. Thanks for your understanding. Glad you enjoyed the conference, despite the exercise.... Stepanie Miller, VP, Member Relations, DMA
Posted by: Jim Davidson
Date: 2013-02-12 16:41:13
Subject: Don't forget the burgers!

Cheddar burger + 2 cocktails + tip = $70. I found a Subway and Walgreens nearby. Problem solved. Insanity.
Posted by: Ken Magill
Date: 2013-02-12 15:07:13
Subject: RE: Vodka

Thanks Margaret! The conference itself was great. It always is. I learned a bunch of new stuff and met a bunch of new people.
Posted by: Jim Ducharme
Date: 2013-02-12 14:42:46
Subject: Video interview with Ken at EEC 13

Oops! Forgot! Here's Ken's video interview from EEC 13 with me Regards, Jim Ducharme
Posted by: Margaret Mulvihill
Date: 2013-02-12 14:38:54
Subject: Vodka

Lovely story, Ken, about the vodka! I kept reading and waiting though - what about the conference! Was it good, bad or indifferent? did you learn a lot of new stuff, meet a lot of fun people?
Posted by: Jim Ducharme
Date: 2013-02-12 14:37:01
Subject: Mojito Mojo

I had a similar experience (sans the pores pouring). I get there the first day and go to the pool bar and do what any self respecting Canuck would do who's just flew in from the north pole...I order a mojito. I got one, about the size of a small coffee and it the bill? 20 bucks! Hokey smokes! ;) Regards, Jim Ducharme