Steve Hatch warns of the cookie that killed Santa
Steve Hatch warns of the cookie that killed Santa
A view from Steve Hatch

The cookie that killed Santa

With the end of the year hurtling towards us, MEC's chief executive Steve Hatch provides a cautionary tale about how cookies can all too easily spoil the magic of Christmas.

Want to hear the terrifying tale of…The Cookie That Killed Santa?

Mid-November last year and I was feeling great. I’d gotten ahead of my Christmas shopping and had sorted the big one, what to buy my wife after what had been a real year of years.

Two hours making just the right choice on jewellery website Astley Clarke, followed by a quick phone call to place the order and I was done, happy and looking forward to the big surprise being opened on Christmas Day.

Except it didn’t work out that way. And being smart folk I bet you know what happened next…

Because I completed my sale on the phone not on the web, every ad my wife saw online between then and Christmas was from Astley Clarke, showing both the present I’d bought and the price as they dynamically re-targeted the crap out of our home. So the surprise part of the big Christmas surprise was a complete damp squib.

And then insult got added to injury. What did the banner ad look like on Boxing Day? You’ve guessed it, the same gift, and now 40% off the price I paid. Cheers, no really, thanks for that - just brilliant- I’m absolutely fecking delighted.

And here’s the thing; the website is great, the sales person I spoke to couldn’t have been more helpful and the delivery was exactly as promised - I would have shopped there again in a heartbeat. But all unravelled by seeing me as a cookie not a person.

Sometime ago, Saatchi’s Richard Huntington tweeted something along the lines of ‘you people who think your retargeting is clever - I think it’s pretty stupid.’ Not always true but was this time; dumb, dumb as a brick and all because it thought I was cookie not a person.

Steve Hatch is chief executive of WPP's MEC