The Art of the Auto Reply

Posted in Play

As living testament to the fact that every touch point is a chance to enhance brand relationships, we offer the humble "out of office" auto reply. Why not have fun with it, embue it with supernatural powers, use it to relay a poem or a sentiment? As long as you keep it relatively brief, in deference to the repetition some of your recipients may experience, the auto reply can be fun. When the FINE offices close next week, you can expect to see some effort on this front. A few early examples are below - we'll add more. Another bonus: now you don't need to email us over the holidays just to see the clever auto replies.


This is an automated response, from a machine. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until it wishes you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

FINE will be closed from Dec. 26th through Jan. 2. I look forward to re-engaging with you and hitting the ground running in 2012.

- Sam
If you're reading this, Doc Brown was unable to make lightning strike the clock tower, and I'm stuck in 1985. I won't be able to respond to emails or voicemail until 9ish on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, or until email is invented - whatever comes first.

Happy Holidays,
Thank you for your Email. This is an auto-reply. My elves are standing in while I figure out how to program my newest iComeLately gadget to twitter-book my social-tablet.

I'll bet no matter how many Emails you send, my little elves can easily keep up. Go ahead. Give it a shot. Email again. In fact, I'm trying to figure out exactly how many Emails my Inbox can store. When I get back, I'm going to randomly pick Emails out of a hat (well, digital hat... combined with a few random deletes). I will perhaps respond to those Emails selected.

So... send away, and increase your chances of being one of the lucky reply recipients. The big drawing occurs on January 3, when I descend back down upon this fine landscape we call the work environment.
In other words, I'm gone until the new year. Happy Holidaze to all y'alls.

*Hello and thank you for your message! *

The FINE offices are closed Monday (12/26) through the following Monday (1/2) for the holidays. During this time I'll be doing crazy things like: head to the grocery store *during the day (gasp!), skip the weekend brunch rush and go during the week, an early morning hike somewhere in the beautiful Pacific NW... but most importantly: kicking back and sleeping in!*

I hope this message finds you enjoying all the little things that bring you joy this holiday season.

Have a wonderful holiday and I look forward to connecting with you again in the new year!

All the best,


Hello. This is one of those auto-reply messages. I would never talk to YOU personally in this smart-alecky way.

In accordance with the wishes of my personal retinue of hypnotists, shamans, and low-carb chefs, I will be pursuing a vigorous course of corrective therapies at an undisclosed location between 12/23/11 and 1/3/12. I hope to re-engage with you as soon as my regimen is complete.

Happy holidays!


NOTE: This is one of those automated emails you get when someone's out on vacation and knows you're going to expect a pretty much instant reply like everyone does these days, but they're not going to be back until next Friday, August 7 and they'd really like not to spend the whole time fielding emails but if you really have an emergency there's someone who can track them down over at 415 552 9300 but otherwise they'll get back to you on the flip side.

Plus, I read somewhere that email is dying. Gonna be replaced by methods that are more synchronous, real-time. Like, you know, talking. Except you can talk to 300 at people at once, even if they're hundreds of miles away. Or across the room. And even if they're not paying attention. Oh, which they won't be. Because even if they wanted to, they couldn't pay attention to 300 people at once. Hey, you know which technology is still pretty much what it was 1,000 million years ago? Yep, your brain. So who knows how your brain will handle that day pretty soon when even your flooded email inbox is going to seem quaint, like abacuses, quill pens or the Pony Express. Did you know that it used to take 10 days for Pony Express riders to deliver a letter the 1,966 miles from their base in St. Joseph, Missouri, to the terminus in Sacramento, California? The record was seven days, 17 hours. True story. And they thought that was fast. Some people thought it was too fast and were distraught: "gadzooks, I can't have all a whole new piece of information flooding me twice a fortnight! We must curb the technological sorcery responsible for this torrent of data - I need time to process it all!". I'm making that up, I don't know if people thought that or really said old-timey things like gadzooks. But I do know that kind of turnaround time is frowned upon these days. And yet, what did slowpoke technology like the Pony Express and wagon trains and whatnot enable? Oh nothing, just the settlement of the entire American west, where pretty much everything has been invented over the past century (blue jeans, TV, martinis, Twitters). There you sit, tweeting, sipping a martini, in your blue jeans, with the TV on, never realizing that you owe it all to the Pony Express, and all those brave pioneers back in the day who muddled through without email, let alone all the things that are about to replace it. Yet still, you long for an instant reply. Believe me, I know the feeling. But trust me, whatever you got, we'll all be better off if you pop it in Old Whiskey's saddlebag and send her galloping my way on the weeklong trail.


NOTE: I'm on vacation. So.

Really, there's only one kind of vacation nowadays, and that's a vacation from email. And Slack. Who's idea was THAT? Inbox overloaded? Let's make it possible for you to get 13 messages per second in real-time (not the kind of time where people pause and formulate thoughts in fake time - REAL time)! Anyway, I'm fully on vacation from persistent little information fragments like that. Not to say that the thing you just tried to send wasn't pivotal, insightful. But, you know, "I wish I'd spent more time with email and instant messaging," said no one EVER on their death bed. So I'm going to go look at a tree or something. Trees are ideas that take years to form and express and they're majestic without a single emoji crutch. They don't even expect a response (maybe they do, but it ain't much). Also, I may look at a lake or a sky or other things that are not backlit and powered by a lithium battery.

Anyway, I'll be back on Thursday, June 23 but if you really have an emergency there's someone who can track me down over at 415 552 9300 but otherwise we'll get back to you on the flip side.


Here's hoping you'll be available only via auto reply next week as well! Happy holidays.

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