Pinpointed By Timbuk2

Targeted By Timbuk2.jpg

In principle, I should be grateful for Targeted Marketing. Advertising isn’t annoying as a basic concept. It’s the “noise” of ads; the scattershot approach that results in everything you see and hear getting contaminated by useless information. I’m not interested in refinancing the home I don’t own. Even if I were, I’m not sure if I’d go with a financial institution whose most impressive credentials seem to be that they can afford to hire someone to produce Flash animation of a leprechaun farting dollar bills.

But if I start seeing a lot of Google Ads for deals on micro four-thirds lenses, my sequence of reactions would go like this:

1) “Oh. I bet that’s because of all those websearches I did last week.”

2) “Gee, that’s kind of creepy.”

3) “Hey, cool: J&H has a one-day 20% off sale that actually brings the 20mm Panasonic f1.7 down into my price range.”

Recently, I’ve been seeing this ad for Timbuk2’s iPad case. Actually, their “Quickie” bag, size extra-small.

I’ve been seeing this ad everywhere. Not just “I see it regularly.” I mean that it’s probably one out of every five ads I see in Google Reader. There are some blogs in which it’s the only ad I ever see. Post after post, day after day: Timbuk2 iPad bag.

I’m starting to feel as though I have some sort of social responsibility to respond. You know, like, the third time a co-worker invites you to one of his regular weekend get-togethers, a casual and friendly “Gosh, I’m busy” won’t do; you need to either accept the invitation out of courtesy, or find a gentle and sensitive way of communicating that you were never a big fan of “Space: 1999” and as such, a themed barbecue, pool party, or charity mini-golf tourney is unlikely to hold much interest for you.

(I have a similar policy with PR emails. I don’t necessarily feel that I need to respond to each and every one — particularly ones from PR people who are eager to hook me up with a client who can “explain the intricacies of the iPhone 4 to me, as well as educate me and my readers about how this revolutionary device will transform…” etc. But if the PR person sends me a followup, I think it’s rude not to at least thank them for thinking of me and assuring them that I’d be in touch if I needed more info.)

So. People of Timbuk2:

“You make many fine, fine products. I’ve bought many of them in the past. I have consistently been pleased with their simple but attractive design, solid construction, and highly practical and functional features. Please be assured that if I should be in the market for an iPad bag, your line will receive favored and serious consideration. However, at this time I have yet to properly define my needs for such a bag, and therefore have deferred this decision to a future date.”

Good. Now at least I feel as though I’ve satisfied social etiquette. I don’t know if it’ll result in my seeing this ad less-frequently. Come to think of it, I’d be profoundly creeped-out to learn that Google’s tendrils run so deep that they’re spidering my personal blog for clues on how to sell me stuff.

Truth be told, the fact that I keep seeing this ad proves that their algorithms are working. Like most iPad owners, I’m still grappling with the Carriage Problem. What’s the “right” way to carry an iPad? Do I stick it in my way-too-big laptop bag? Hug it like the Statue of Liberty’s tablet? Put it in a cloth sleeve and hold it like a lady’s clutch purse?

Or do I buy a smaller laptop bag that can only really work with the iPad?

Timbuk2’s “Quickie” is probably the wrong choice for me. On the plus side, it appears to have a couple of dump pouches for the pocketful of accessories I sometimes take with me (my stopper stand, a folding easel, a set of headphones, maybe a MiFi). On the negative, it lacks D-rings for a shoulder strap. I’d still have to hold it in a free hand. That’s not really an upgrade from the lovely “pajama” sleeve that a clever friend sewed for me. I live in mild fear that I’ll set it down somewhere, get distracted (or allow a ne’er-do-well to distract me) and then presto, I’ve lost my iPad.

Their “Freestyle Netbook Messenger” has possibilities, though. It’s just a smaller version of a notebook messenger bag and it seems to be big enough to hold my iPad plus all of the bibs and bobs that tend to pass into and out of my orbit during an afternoon out of the office.

I also imagine that it’d make a handy “lunar lander” sort of bag when I’m flying. I board the plane, “undock” the Freestyle from my big laptop bag, and stow the latter in the overhead. All of the carryon equipment that I’ll never use during the six-hour flight (my MacBook, power adapters, assorted cameras, etc.) won’t be taking up valuable legroom at my seat; the “lander” contains just the iPad and a few other in-flight essentials.

Well, maybe I’ll check these things out the next time I’m in a store that carries Timbuk2 gear.

My 511 Tactical Pants continue to serve with honor and distinction, But there are limits. I try not to fill the pockets with so much gear that I wind up getting tailed by store security everywhere I go.


20 thoughts on “Pinpointed By Timbuk2

  1. Shaan Ware

    I noticed these oddly right after i purchased a timbuk2 small messenger for my iPad quite an odd coincidence certainly

  2. Jason G

    Andy, I can speak to the Freestyle bag. I have it and it’s the perfect size for the iPad and anything else you might need that won’t go into the overhead bin. I just wish it had a handle across the top though for quick grabbing.

  3. Till

    I’ve been carrying around a medium-ish sized Manhattan Portage shoulder bag everywhere for several years now, and it has an inner pocket which my iPad, clad in its leather Marware case, fits perfectly into.

    A laptop bag is overkill, unless you’re also carrying a laptop. But your typical messenger/shoulder bag should do quite nicely.

  4. @wildeep

    I have to admit, I like the targeted ads too. Facebook is the place where I notice it most often. The text ads next to my GMail aren’t quite that good yet.

  5. Jeremy

    lol, I like how all the responses are about the bag, and not the point of the article. I too get 1000 timbuck2 ads everywhere I go online. The sad thing, is I didn’t start getting them until after I bought there bag. You don’t need to advertise to me. I own your product. Then again, it’s better then seeing someone dance on a mortgage ad.

  6. Edmund Ng

    REI has a smallish selection of Timbuk2 bags. Stop by the next time you’re in Hingham or Framingham.

  7. Scott

    Andy – I highly recommend the Freestyle. has them on sale for $34.99. I bought mine about a month ago and use it every day. It’s perfect for the iPad and a few other items to get you through the day.

  8. Tactical Pilot

    Tactical Pants – Time to upgrade.

    I’ve used 511’s for years (law enforcement) but have found what seems to be a better solution.

    They are lighter, have better pocket access (a wallet pocket that keeps your billfold from sliding down to your hamstring) including seated access to thigh pockets.

    Have a look, I have no affiliation with Blackhawk or the Tactical Pant company, just had good luck with them as one source to buy…



  9. Greg

    I have a quickie which I recently bought to hall my new macbook pro 15″ because i am walking to work these days. holds my laptop, a small moleskin notebook, my power cord (without the cord extension piece), my iphone charger, my keys and a sunglasses case in the two front dump pockets. love the bag. oh and it does have a shoulder strap.

  10. Bill Court

    Andy- I just got an Osprey Spin messenger bag. It gives great protection plus has room for few files, the power cord, and a small digital camera. It was $19.99 on Ebay. I have been using the Osprey Torque for my MacBoo Pro for a few years w/no problems.


  11. Jo

    Hi Andy,

    You’re right! Most of these “Targeted” ads are irrelevant.
    I’d love to see some ads about latest HDD, laptop, netbook… But no, it’s stuff about casino, cars, boops.
    By the way, I don’t have ads in Google Reader.

    The guys at Labrats ( ) showed the Tom Bihn bag mentioned above. It’s worth watching.

  12. Greg Walrath

    OK, what have you done!!!!!????? Every page I go to now I see that same ad for the iPad bag! I don’t even own one!

  13. M Quirk

    If you don’t mind carrying around something made of dead cow, there’s a bunch of places on-line where you can buy Soviet military surplus “Officer’s Map Case” bags from the early 80’s. The iPad fits perfectly in the back pocket.

  14. rfsII

    I too am followed by an ad (Nikon 70-200 f2.8) but the question you need to answer, Mr. Nosey Manypockets, is where do they come from and how does one get rid of them? Are they the benign-looking tip of a sinister iceberg? What would Adam Curry advise?

  15. Rod

    Thanks for lessening my Internet paranoia. I thing the “eyes in the portrait ” started following me after a brief visit to the site. It worked. I’ve bought the tiny timbuk2 bag to match my big one.
    5.11 makes great stuff – and an interesting corporate history, being a former climbing gear company (5.11 reveres to a rock face rating system – a tough climb.
    Thanks for yet another good read on my iPad!

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