In The News: Free Product Promotion Gets Retailer Unpredictable Results
When jewelry retailer JewelryByNET.com planned a TV commercial ad last May, they
wanted to feature real satisfied customers throughout the ad with a repeating
theme - "I Love JewelryByNET.com". In trying to retain the talent within a low
budget, JewelryByNET.com decided to offer free jewelry in lieu of monetary
As a way of attracting existing and new customers to appear in the ad spot,
JewelryByNET.com sent out an email blast to its customer base that had made a
purchase in the last 6 months. JewelryByNET.com also created a promotional
landing page with a signup form and release on their website which was promoted
by highly visible promo banners touting "Get FREE Jewelry".
People were told up-front they would be considered for getting free jewelry by
submitting a picture of themselves wearing items purchased from JewelryByNET.com
and showing a sign provided by the site, stating "I Love JewelryByNET.com". If
selected, they could pick an item of their choice from a selection of fashion
jewelry valued at over $20 each. They were also told their picture would be used
in a JewelryByNET.com advertisement.
A couple of days after deploying the campaign, submissions started flooding
JewelryByNET.com. "We didn't expect our free jewelry invitation would become
such a viral marketing extravaganza." said Sam Meddy, President of
JewelryByNET.com. By the end of the month JewelryByNET.com had received over
100,000 submissions and calls were flooding the Customer Service phone lines
with more people asking how they could participate.
This unexpected but wave of interest along with the free jewelry response rate
generated more than just free jewelry submissions. Because the promotion
guidelines stated that participation was open only to those who submitted
pictures of themselves wearing jewelry purchased from JewelryByNET.com, people
wanting to participate began browsing the website and began purchasing items
they wanted anyway. "Sales went through the roof with a 500% increase of sales,
making it the most profitable month we've ever had." said George Alexandrakis,
Executive Vice President.
With so many customers willing to "Show their love for JewelryByNET.com", Mr.
Meddy said that new marketing campaigns are currently being developed to include
magazine & print ads displaying real JewelryByNET.com customers happily showing
off their bling. "Not only do we have way more submissions than originally
needed, but now we have enough customer pictures to wallpaper all the walls of
our offices as well."
The lesson to be learned by other retailers is to think outside normal practices
and to be careful of what you wish for; you may just get it - with some
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