In today’s world of contextual advertising, web sites pick up on your hobbies and interests pretty quickly. Obviously, many of the ads that I see have to do with fishing.
When I first saw the ads for the Mystery Tackle Box, it really didn’t peak my interest because it felt like a gimmick ad. One that was just trying to get you to click on it to bring you to a big box store site.
In investigating their company, I discovered that they offer a monthly subscription service. For $15/month, they will send you a box with different types of lures, presumably from new companies, or known companies with new products to try out. They don’t ever specify what kind of lures you get or from whom. It’s, well, a mystery.
It’s actually a brilliant idea. It gets new lures in the hands of people that will likely use them. And we are all intrigued by mystery boxes. J.J. Abrams did a great job of describing why in his TED talk.
As intrigued as I was, I couldn’t justify spending $15 one time, let alone every month, on lures that I might not use. Recently, though, Mystery Tackle Box followed me on Twitter and not remembering whether I followed them, I visited their Twitter account. They were having a special where 10 people could get their first month for $1. The promotion had already been going on for a day, so I didn’t know if they were already gone, but I tried anyway. The discount code worked. Score!
The subscription link was easy to find and the registration process was pretty straightforward. I liked that they had all the steps on one page and expanded each section in an accordion style for each step. It is a much better registration process than all the other ones where you don’t know how many steps you have or when it will end.
Once I was done, I anxiously awaited my delivery.
When the box came, it was smaller than I expected. It only measured 7.5″x5.25″x2″. I expected a box that looked like the logo and I wasn’t disappointed.
The box was packed full with lures and included some paper packing material that matched the box. While that seems like a little detail, it made the packaging more “elegant” than if they included bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts.
- Stroker, Weighted Stroker, and Stick’r hooks by Moaner Hooks
- Space Monkey by Rage Tail
- Condition Buzz buzzbait by Reaction Strike
- XCB-S Crankbait by Reaction Strike
- A set of product info cards
- A Mystery Tackle Box sticker
The info cards, one for each item in the box, gave information about the item, its retail price, and a QR code to go to a web page about it. The backs of the cards had a logo of the manufacturer of the item.
According to the info cards, the retail value of the 4 items in the box came to $24.95. With free shipping, the service looks like a good value.
I think the execution here is flawless. Their logo is a bit too throwback for my taste (it reminds me of a logo that would be on a 1960s metal tin), but it translates well to the box. The box is elegant as well as the packaging. The box is the perfect size for lure packages, so the lures pack tight giving the impression of getting a lot for your money.
The info cards were something I didn’t expect and a nice touch. Not only did it give good information about the lures, but also told you the total value of what you got. I’m sure it will always be above the $15/month subscription price which makes their customers feel good. Printing the back of the cards was also a nice detail that added to the overall experience. I’m sure the lure manufacturers love the info cards as they add to the value that Mystery Tackle Box is providing to them.
My only complaint (if you can even call it that) is the price. Most avid fisherman spend at least that much every month on lures, bait, or other fishing paraphernalia. I’m not sure that the casual weekend fisherman would. And as an avid fisherman, I would rather spend that kind of cash on lures I know I would use rather than not knowing what I’m getting. $10/month might be more palatable. The free shipping, though, is another small detail that psychologically adds value even if the price seems high.
That minor grievance aside, Mystery Tackle Box is a great way to learn about new lures and to try something new. Many anglers get in a rut using the same bait all too often. They will only try something new if a fishing buddy tells them about it.
From the lure manufacturer’s perspective, Mystery Tackle Box did a good job of not only delivering the products, but also in promoting them. The info cards were unexpected and they benefit not only the lure companies, but also the Mystery Tackle Box subscribers.
When I first heard about Mystery Tackle Box, I didn’t expect much, but have come away very impressed. A service like this can come off as cheesy and just be a novelty. However, they really thought through the details and have pulled off an elegance that is hard to achieve.
I don’t know if a service like this can survive. My Gift Ideas for the Avid Angler post discussed how avid fisherman would rather receive gift cards than fishing gear as gifts because they stick to what they know works. Most avid anglers agreed. That may be the barrier to Mystery Tackle Box’s success. However, I do think they have an innovative idea and their execution can only help them.
UPDATE: Also check out my review of Mystery Tackle Box #2 from September, 2012.
[Disclaimer: I bought the Mystery Tackle Box in this review for $1 through a Mystery Tackle Box promotion. I have no relationship, sponsorship or otherwise, to Mystery Tackle Box or its founders.]
[Author's note: I mentioned on Twitter that I would be doing this review and Mystery Tackle Box offered my readers a discount on their first box. Use the code GET499 and get your first box for just $4.99. Then let me know what you think of them.]