“But United is a major provider of Airline Tickets”

By Eric Goldman

I got the following postcard solicitation in the mail yesterday:


(Click on it to see a larger size).

There are a number of goofy things about this postcard, including the language that I am “now ON RECORD” (hooray for me!) and that I should respond promptly “so we may process you” (I hope that doesn’t hurt!).

But the dominant visual image is the color logos of United (unfortunately shown as black and white in this scan), which are repeated in color on the other side of the postcard. In context, I think most readers are led to the unambiguous inference that United Airlines has some connection with this offer. That inference is putatively dispelled by the fine print disclaimer at the bottom, which says “not sponsored by United Airlines. But United is a major provider of Airline Tickets.” Well, with that, at least there’s one true statement in the postcard.