How NOT to Market – Incredible Story

Last week I was watching CNN Headline News.  The story was about a gas station in the southeastern region of the U.S.  They were selling gas for about 30 cents a gallon.  There were stories of happy customers, people calling other people, and of course long lines.  To say the event was viral would be an easy statement, especially when the gas prices weren’t even advertised.  The cell phones did all the advertising.

Later we find out why the gas prices were never advertised…  Apparently an employee put the wrong prices into the system and instead of 30 cents, the price per gallon should have been closer to $3.30.  The approximate exposure to the station rang up to $1500 dollars before the glitch was fixed.  

Now, if it were me as the owner, I might have been a bit upset at the employee and reprimanded them severely…but then again, look at the attention generated.  Multiple calls were made, new customers were made and you end up being FEATURED on Headline News.  National advertising for 2-3 minutes that only cost you $1500!!!  It’s more than a dream come true – it’s virtually impossible.

So, what did the owner plan to do?  Again, this is true – they stated on air they would investigate those customers who had used credit cards and then add on to their card what the actual amount should have been…  WHAT????!!!  Are you kidding??  Not only is this potentially illegal to do, but now you have additionally pissed off all the people who for that day became your advocates.

Sometimes human nature and their lack of vision blows me away.  Am I alone in this way of thinking?

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2 Responses

  1. that is really something that I would never believe could happen. but hey the chance for your business to be seen is really amazing.

  2. “…but then again, look at the attention generated. Multiple calls were made, new customers were made and you end up being FEATURED on Headline News. National advertising for 2-3 minutes that only cost you $1500!!! It’s more than a dream come true – it’s virtually impossible.”

    Most gas stations are owned by independent operators. It is unlikely that this operator will get any benefit from national advertising. Their margins on gas are very low, so losing $1500 at the pumps can be a very big deal.

    I think your points are well taken as they relate to the oil and gas company with its logo on the sign. It might have been a good idea for the company to contact the operator and offer him $1500 before he started talking to the media about going after his credit card customers. But i just looked out my office window and didn’t see a single flying pig. 🙂

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