Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Do you think of Amazon as a ruthless company?
Do you think it so dedicated to customer service that it treats its employees terribly?
Or do you merely get annoyed when your body wash arrives a day late?
I only ask because it's easy to think of Amazon as a vast machine that won't tolerate inefficiciencies or what it sees as overly vocal New York politicians.
Personally, I've been vocal about the company's recent peddling of Whole Foods' wares. I find it wholly unappetizing.
Yet Fast Company put me on to a recondite Amazon sales activity that threatens to be beguiling.
You see, the company is using horoscopes to get its Amazon Prime members excited about shopping.
Each horoscope offers a different thought about the products Amazon thinks you should buy.
What could I do but see if Jeff Bezos's company understands me? I am, as we all are, desperate to be understood.
Off I went, then, to the Amazon Prime Insider page to see just how well Amazon can, as modern vernacular has it, feel me.
The horoscopes are written by astrology writer and visionary (sic) Anna Katz.
Has Katz perhaps looked at my buying patterns and deduced who I am?
Or does her visionary nature simply intuit my needs?
Who are you, dear Aquarius? What is your purpose here? Where are you going?
Oh, Lordy. She has no idea, does she? She doesn't know me at all.
Nevertheless, she persisted:
These laugh-riot questions will be on your mind this month, but don't worry about coming up with any answers. Just remember, Alexa Shopping and Prime Pantry are always there to answer life's simpler questions, like 'What do I do when I run out of hot sauce?' and 'Where do I get more laundry detergent?'
I'm glad Katz's visionary nature means I don't have to offer existential answers and can merely laugh and riot.
And, now that I know her visions are available to Amazon Prime members on a monthly basis, will it be tempting to stop by and check them out?
It might be.
Given Amazon's often prosaic ways of approaching sales, I confess I was pleasantly moved by this departure into attempted charm.
I know that many people swear by horoscopes, even though these prognostications have always struck me as offering a tinge of tosh with a splash of balderdash.
So I quickly squinted at my wife's horoscope:
Spock is your spirit animal this month, dear Capricorn. Following your intuition too closely will only get you into trouble; instead, stick to logic, weigh out every option's pros and cons, and carefully plan each move. Looking before leaping takes more time than blindly diving, so save time (and money) with Prime Now.
My wife's more Star Wars than Star Trek.
Still, this is quite some marketing tactic, one that has the potential to bring customers back each month, just for a touch of entertainment.
It'll surely be quite a challenge for Katz to invent new Amazon products or services that will fit into different horoscopes, but at least it's a slightly different approach to the mundane.
I was about to end by saying that it's often worth trying outlandish marketing tactics, just in case they happen to catch on.
You can start them at small scale, seed them a little and see if fascination around them grows as organically as a Whole Foods vegetable.
But just now, my wife came up the stairs and said:
Hey, I'm ordering a Prime Pantry. Do you need anything?
She had no idea what I was writing, nor had I told her about Amazon's horoscopes.
How's that for freaky, visionary marketing?