Everybody loves a giveaway, right. So you’d think. But recently I was the recipient of a giveaway that actually made me feel worse about the product than I had prior to receiving the free sample.
How could a giveaway be conducted so badly that it invokes negative emotions in the recipient, I hear you ask. Talk to the good folks at Smint, the teardrop-sized mints, who recently staged a giveaway at London’s Paddington railway station, through which I pass regularly. As I emerged from the station concourse, a large hoarding surrounded by people in jolly outfits announced a fabulous Smints giveaway. Great, a friend and I nodded to each other. Makes a change from the usual Oyster card holders and packets of Belvita biscuits that have been the staple of Paddington giveaways over the last year. A packet of Smints to enjoy on the Central Line will be rather nice.
I approached the Smint-givers, smiling broadly to indicate my willingness to receive my free pack, only to be dispensed a tiny blue square packet about the size of a postage stamp containing two – count them, two – Smints.
Two Smints! My immediate reaction was one of shock and scorn. This was the meanest giveaway I had ever encountered. My pleasant expectations of a pack of mints were dashed on the rocks of stinginess. Why, two Smints verged on an insult. About 30 seconds of sucking and crunching…then gone.
I snatched the frugal sample and gobbled down the two mints, glowering with barely suppressed rage. For the rest of of my journey I harboured a simmering resentment toward the manufacturers of Smint, a product I’ve bought irregularly over the years. Specifically, I marvelled at their meanness. A regular pack of Smint retails at around £1 so probably costs the manufacturer 30-50p. The tiny promotional pack must therefore have cost in the region of 1-2p or less. Is that all my potential business is worth to these people? Am I really going to increase my consumption of Smint when I believe the manufacturer only considers me worthy of a couple of pennies of marketing spend? You can keep your crappy mints.
And that is how a badly managed giveaway can engender a negative reaction in a customer.
Suck on it.