It could be one of the finest viral marketing campaigns seen in a long time.
Or it could be a huge error which brings a large company to its knees.
Thresher’s now legendary 40% discount coupon has taken on a life of its own thanks to the internet. A campaign that was reportedly only supposed to be aimed at “key suppliers and their friends” has now been downloaded more than 800,000 times.
The on-line coupon has been passed by email, from blog to blog and website to website.
The big question is whether Thresher intended it to be so widely distributed, or whether this campaign has spiralled out of control.
It could well follow in the footsteps of corporate blunders like the old Hoover white goods offer a decade or so ago that all but sunk that company and Carphone Warehouse’s recent free broadband offer which was massively over-subscribed and dealt a significant blow to profits and the firm’s image.
At present, Thresher is putting a suitably brave face on things. If it is an error, but it succeeds, then obviously it would have been a beautifully crafted and meticulously planned campaign…yeah, right.
Whatever the original motivations, Thresher has generated a year’s worth of free publicity in less than a week.
Viral marketing is here to stay. But big lessons will be learned from Thresher’s 40% coupon campaign.