Clearly, this wasn't us.  Cause yeah, we know.  But a company sent a marketing email that used "69" for the promotion which received backlash.

Using "69" for a promo isn't enough to cause a stir.  At least, it shouldn't be.  However, the rest of the text around the campaign definitely came from a person in marketing who knew exactly what they were doing.

You Don't Know What "69" Is?

man making a funny smile face after making the sex sign

OK, well then let's explain it to you.  Kind of.  But not really.  Think of it this way, it's like cuddling with your partner...but doing it upside down...and naked.  If you want to find out what it is, even Wikipedia has it.  Complete with diagram.

Now that we got that out of the way and you know why some might get their panties in a wad over it, let's see what BarkBox did that they had to send an apology email.

An apology: We didn’t know what 69 meant.


The online dog food and supply company BarkBox sent the promotional email offering a $69 credit.  They put more in the promotion to make it more than just a number.  And here is the apology email sent to people.

On Saturday we sent an email (see below) to our subscribers encouraging them to “$69 with a friend." To us, it was a simple way to simultaneously give and receive: if they refer a pal to BARK, they both get $69 of BarkShop credit. We have since learned the email, particularly the $69, offended some, and for that, we apologize.


In order to remedy this, we are rounding up from $69 to a completely inoffensive $70 of BarkShop credit, and making this available to prospective customers like you. Of course, if you prefer $69, we will not stop you — or judge you! No matter the amount, you deserve to spoil your dog with our shop’s best-selling toys, gifts, home essentials, and more.


To clarify, $69 was a random number that our strategy team landed on. However, after seeing the distress the email caused, I Googled “69” and immediately realized this number has other meanings. As an aside, if you search “69” online, I suggest you do so in an “incognito window.” Unfortunately, I used my work laptop and now have to take HR seminars (that I designed) because I inadvertently violated BARK’s HR policy (that I created). Not to mention I am now getting served all SORTS of ads and BARK has an open office plan.


Once again, our apologies for any misunderstanding. Our aim is to satisfy our customers and celebrate whatever they may (or may not) be into.


Kind regards,

Sharon Milberg-Jones

Head of HR, BARK

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The "strategy team" mentioned above in their email, is brilliant.  They wouldn't be getting this free marketing if it was $70 of credit.  I mean just look at the picture, "This Valentine's Day, everyone should get to enjoy 69...dollars of Barkshop Credit."  That "..." is perfectly placed!

I'm not mad at it at all.  Other than the fact I didn't think of doing it.  There is a place for the BarkBox strategy team on our team.

Sometimes companies need to ruffle feathers and do things differently to get attention.  Some do it with a terrible $7 million Super Bowl commercial.  Others are just smart and do it with a well-worded, well-timed, 69 joke.  Bravo BarkBox, bravo.

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