A couple weeks ago, Gap teamed up with the newly launched geolocation service Facebook Places to give away 10,000 pairs of free jeans. By some accounts, the promotion was a great success, citing the fact that using only Facebook and traditional word-of-mouth advertising, all 10,000 pairs of jeans were given away in less than two hours. However, the company fell short in execution — the effects of which will likely cost it in lost revenue down the road.
Promoted via Facebook, shoppers were instructed to visit a Gap store on November 5th, check in using Facebook Places, show the cashier the check-in acknowledgment, and receive a coupon for free jeans. When the doors opened on November 5, a number of people were disappointed to find out that individual stores had as few as seven pairs of jeans to give away. In addition, due to a lack of understanding about Facebook Places, many customers attempted to “checkin” online instead of going to their local store.
Facebook, the vehicle credited for the successful promotion, became the outlet where a majority of people complained. As one person vented, “I don’t think people are mad about not getting free jeans as much as they are mad about the way that Gap handles their promotions and mistakes.” Several people who identified themselves as loyal Gap customers vowed not to shop at the store in the future. Only time will tell if these disgruntled customers will stick to their word and not shop the store. And what a shame if the company loses loyal customers and revenue over a promotion that was poorly executed.
The company’s claim of success in the way of increased Facebook traffic, “likes,” and comments reminds me of the cartoon by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne that asks, “Who needs customers when you have friends, fans, and followers?” Well, companies do, if they want to be around in 2011 and beyond. Social media has emerged at a time when marketing measurement is top-of-mind. Although “likes” and Facebook traffic are good tools to monitor, a smart marketer knows that sales is the only figure that ultimately matters. A program can only be deemed “successful” if it increases the number or frequency of customers. How does your marketing department or agency measure its programs? Is sales the primary indicator of a program’s success or failure?
— Debbie Dryden, VP, Thought Leadership
- Gap’s Facebook Places Giveaway: Success or Failure? (marketingpilgrim.com)
- Gap Promo Shows Location Deals Need Work (nytimes.com)
- Gap’s Free Jeans Giveaway Left Some Customers Disappointed (shoppingblog.com)
- Complimentary Denim Promotions – The ‘Gap Facebook Places Deal’ Offers Free Jeans to Customers (trendhunter.com)