Stupid Threshers

It turns out the Thresher promotion I wrote about yesterday was a fake viral campaign and, of course, it also turns out that everyone already knew so my enthusiastic Poirot-style revelation wasn’t quite so clever.

Anyway, the whole thing is so wrong on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. I think I’ll just say that it’s not OK to deceive your customers into spending money in your shop and pretending that a quite deliberate promotional campaign was an accident is not going to do more than win you a short term sales boost (a pretty big one, I’ll acknowledge). Sounds like a scam to me. Stupid Threshers.


  1. Sales promotion tends to cheapen brands, but it’s hard to argue when it leaves store shelves empty and the bottom line bloated.

    Longer term effects are harder to gauge, but people have short memories and I suspect they’ll forget all the bad news stories (i.e. Threshers is so expensive they still don’t beat the supermarkets) and few are so interested as to learn (or take in) that it was some kind of scam. It also gives shoppers the feeling they’re getting a discount they should not have been offered, that is to say that they’re getting something that’s worth more than they’re paying. That feeling won’t cheapen the brand.

  2. Cheapens it for me. It’s cheesy and second-rate. Hardly a case for a Watchdog investigation but sort of miserable and disappointing. You don’t want that in a brand really do you?

  3. I disagree with you, Steve, and I think events don’t bear up to your thesis.

    If the deal was as “wrong” as you say, this weekend there probably would have been rioting in the stores. Instead, people generally went away pretty happy.

    If only the punters were as clever as you, Eh? 😉

  4. So it’s like this: punters are going away happy so that’s OK (I went away quite happy myself – with a nice bottle of Chablis!). But they’re going away happy principally because they don’t know that the scheme is phoney. It’s not about being clever – I’m just ‘in the know’. That buzz of excitement in the stores was a fabrication, it was phoney. And that is definitely not a good thing. A retail brand should invest in producing genuine, sustainable buzz around its stores: making it a pleasure to go there and to discover great stuff. This Threshers deal just gets cheesier every time I think about it.

  5. Fair enough if you don’t like the offer, Steve. But there are thousands of suchlike “cheesy” offers being made by high street retailers every day. Why are you not railing against them as well?

    Because. They. Weren’t. Successful.

    Typical Brit..

  6. You are, of course, dead right. There are plenty of cheesy offers in retail (get down to Oxford St this time of year for examples!). But really good retailers typically don’t rely on deception to secure sales. And, since you come from America, the home of some of those really good retailers, you ought to know! Threshers didn’t do anything really dreadful here, just run-of-the-mill retail cheesiness. They did, however, just indefinitely remove themselves from the list of really good retailers. Like I said, disappointing.

  7. I concur with what Neville Hobson says… it wasn’t the deal per se that was interesting, it was the fact that went so viral that made it so interesting to watch.

  8. Yeh. That’s interesting. I’d love to see a study of all those people in the stores (me included), really enjoying the idea of being in on something, chatting to strangers, passing the thing on (I gave a hard copy to a friend who hadn’t been online), laughing about the depleted stock and – in my local store – even speculating that the thing might be phoney…

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