Frustrated by a simple giveaway in The Sun, here’s what i wrote a few days ago:
Want to put a big dent in your brand’s previously good reputation? Here’s how.
For the last week, Lego have been running a promotion in The Sun. Collect a voucher, go to WHSmith, pick up a free Lego toy. Special designs, not available anywhere else. Cool stuff. Free cool stuff. Great, huh? A promotion that gets children pestering their parents to buy a newspaper, gives away something worth having and creates a buzz around the brands involved.
Of course the ever-present small print says ‘While stocks last’. And there’s the problem – according to staff at Worthing’s WHSmith, there are so few Lego toys they’re gone within minutes, literally. And all day, WHSmith staff are turning people away.
So this is a promotion that dents all three people involved; Lego look mean, The Sun look like liars and WHSmith get to make lots of children unhappy. Creating the kind of buzz you couldn’t buy. Great marketing ploy, huh?
I’ve since had a really good response from Helen Prowse at The Sun – it’s pretty much a lesson in how to handle bloggers and respond to complaints on social media. Polite, honest and fixes the problem.
I am sure you can appreciate the massive logistical operation that this is – we are giving out over 2.7 million free toys across over 600 stores so whilst we do our best to make sure that they all have sufficient stock, inevitably problems do sometimes crop up.
WHSmith Worthing have had 500 items of stock a day – and to put this in perspective, they usually sell around 50 copies of The Sun so this really is unprecedented demand. We will be increasing stock levels at that store as of tomorrow which should alleviate the problem.
The offer is while stocks last, but as and when stores do run out, Managers have been briefed to let any readers know that they should contact News International Customer services on 020 7860 1129 or firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a replacement toy. Please accept my apologies if you have not been given this information in store.
As you pointed out, our TV advertising campaign means that demand for this offer is high. We anticipated this and we are working round the clock to make sure we have the right stock in the right place as well as responding to any problems in real time, as we can do in Worthing. What’s more, we have also have made a commitment that any reader unable to redeem a toy will be posted the missing item or an equivalent within 28 days. We purposefully set aside 25,000 toys per day in advance in preparation for this.