I once knew a keyboard player who put black tape over the huge YAMAHA that faced the audience when he played his synthesizer on stage.
He even wrote Yamaha a letter saying that if they wanted him to advertise their company when he played, they’d have to pay him a fee.
Thirty years later, he’s still waiting for a response.
That’s the way I’ve always felt about the default email signatures that ship with smartphones and tablets these days.
“Sent from my iPhone” is fairly harmless. However, I don’t feel the need to give Apple a free ride on every email I send. (By now, I imagine my friend has sent Apple a letter as well.)
Whatever, these default signatures are now commonplace. And just as the socks we choose to wear say something about us, these signatures say something about the companies that put them there. Or, in some cases, the multiple companies who put them there.
See Exhibit A above.
This is the email signature that comes standard on a new Samsung phone. It’s unintentionally hilarious — the combined effort of Samsung and AT&T. This is probably more of a billboard than an email signature. But even as a billboard it fails — because rather than say something simple, it’s stuffed to the gills with everything that might impress a recipient.
This is not only a violation of the rules of simplicity, it’s unenlightened and tacky.
Even the lawyers get to join in the fun. The trademarks are all in place, just to make sure that (a) we aren’t tempted to steal the product names, and (b) the email signature looks as ugly as possible.
Advertising issues aside, there is simply a good taste issue here. Though I don’t love what Apple has done, at least it is done with taste. “Sent from my iPhone” is simple and unobtrusive. No trademarks. No promo of AT&T or Verizon. It simply identifies the device you’re using. (And gives you an out for all those device-induced typos.)
One of the lures of Android is that it is open, and that the carriers are free to customize it as they please — which AT&T has obviously done here.
The result is just another example of advertising pollution. A marketing department sees a new place to put some words, and they stuff it to the gills simply because they can. They’re incapable of distilling a message to its essence.
Thankfully, none of us have to participate in this nonsense. We’re all free to alter our default email signatures. We can rip them out altogether, or take the opportunity to show the world how amusing we can be.
“Sent by carrier pigeon” is a personal favorite. But if you have a better one, I’d be happy to steal it.