I was a Star Trek fan when Shatner was the only Captain the Enterprise had ever known, so it’s sad for me to say I’m so disgusted with Star Trek right now I’ve lost all interest in seeing the new movie.
The first problem was the lack of a new story. I liked the 2009 reboot overall and took some of the changes to “Star Trek history” (aka canon) as part of what J.J. Abrams needed to do to tell his own stories. So when I learned that Into Darkness was still borrowing from the original series and the original movies I was a little disappointed, but not fatally.
The second problem was this esurance ad. There have been product tie ins before, but this one somehow felt like all pretense of connection to the spirit of the original show had been abandoned. The original Star Trek was radical for promoting racial equality and peace, and the new movies were radical for their low, low insurance rates? A little more disappointed, but still I hadn’t given up.
What killed it for me is their spam marketing campaign. Star Trek: Into Darkness launched a promotion push called Are You The 1701, with the relevant hashtag #IAmThe1701. I signed up for the promotion because I thought it might be interesting, and I’m always curious to see how different companies run promotional campaigns.
It started out poorly with emails to win passess to screenings I couldn’t attend (I don’t live in Los Angeles), then got worse as the emails began coming in daily. After about a week I’d had enough and tried to Unsubscribe.
Nope. The Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the emails doesn’t work. It says I’m not on their list so they can’t remove me, yet the emails keep coming. Then I tried replying to the email directly, but it bounced back from an unmonitoried address. Since Paramount continues to send me email I don’t want, and have tried to stop, they are technically spamming me.
I was getting mad but I thought maybe someone else involved might be able to help. I tweeted @StarTrek and @StarTrekMovie asking for assistance. Nothing. They don’t care, and/or don’t appear to do any listening. Paramount’s only interest is pushing as many people to their theaters and car insurance tie ins as possible.
Fans? They can boldly get lost.
Digital marketing campaigns are designed to get people excited about a product or event, but if you do them poorly they can have just the opposite effect. If my reaction seems overkill, remember that for the past nearly two weeks the bulk of Star Trek mentions I’ve seen were a source of increasing frustration. Even something you like can get annoying in a big hurry if the business contacts you excessively with offers you can’t use, doesn’t give you any way to make them stop, and ignores you if you ask for help.
Paramount, I am sure that Star Trek: Into Darkness will makes gobs of money for you at the box office without my support, even with your rehashed story ideas, discount insurance, and spammy, incompetent promotion. But as a life-long fan that you’ve managed to annoy so thoroughly that for the first time my life I’m avoiding something with the name “Star Trek”, let me just say: Screw you.