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Gmail Email Intervention

Gmail Email Intervention

by Robyn Tippins on July 29, 2011

One of the better marketing campaigns I’ve seen this year, Gmail’s Email Intervention invites you to take part in an email intervention.


What I loved…

Initial Call to Action

Gmail Email Intervention - Call to Action

The not annoying, but definitely noticeable alert began showing up yesterday for many gmail users.


Gmail has such a clean interface that anything in that right sidebar is going to get the attention of a user.  Interestingly, the call to action isn’t worded well but isn’t technically grammatically incorrect.

It’s just clunky enough that you want to click it to find out what’s going on (or at least that is why I clicked through).

Applies to All

We all know someone with a ridiculous email address.  We all have wanted to do something about it but have let it fester for years.  I used it to invite my mom to Gmail.  Of course I’ve been seeing the invite your friends to gmail text for the last few years, but this campaign finally got me to act on it.


The entire start-to-finish intervention only needs your name and email address (though that probably should have prepopulated) and your victim’s name and email address.


The videos are fun, the messages to send to unsuspecting friends and families are fun, the idea of an email intervention itself is fun. The whole thing is just fun (and a great way to get a quick giggle from your friends).

Suggestions for Improvement

Form Suckage

gmail email intervention

Don’t expect people to use what you made exactly how you designed it.  You expect them to only add their friend’s first name, but sometimes they’re going to use a full name (because that’s what most forms ask for), so build your form so that it works either way.  They did not do this (see my mom’s name above).

Don’t expect people to use what you made exactly how you designed it.

Disappearing Form Inputs Suck

When you click into the text areas on the form, the useful input suggestions (ie what you are supposed to type there) disappear.  I understand that this is a super-popular, cool, and snazzy way to present a form, but  the actual people using these forms hate this.  A typical user might employ a tab to skip from one form input to another.  If they tab quickly over, they miss what they are supposed to enter in the input area.  This slows us down and is very annoying.

Viral Opportunities Missed

Yes, sending an email to a new user is a viral mechanism, but why aren’t there ways to socially share this campaign.  I understand if Google doesn’t want to push Twitter or Facebook but at least let us +1 the campaign on Google Plus.  There could have been a really fun landing page that allowed you to ‘name names’ based on who you invited and your own social profile.  ‘I just performed an email intervention on @userx.  Tell her you agree!’

Overall a Great Campaign 

For the most part, though, this campaign is really good.  The idea is great, the execution was very carefully made and the happy/silly feeling you get after using it really makes you want to repeat (and share) the intervention.

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