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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thresher's amazing discount offer: what's the real story

Stuart Bruce, a well-respected professional PR, has come up with an interesting take on the Threshers mistake that turned into a global viral campaign of considerable success.

Stuart points out that far from being the success the media think it undoubtedly is, it is in fact damaging to the reputation of Threshers because amongst many things it shows how much Threshers overcharge. This implies Threshers are greedy and dishonest. Stuart further points out that Threshers must make money even when they offer a 40% discount. Indeed the three for two offer that Threshers offer puts the 40% “offer” into perspective – not such a steal on closer inspection although the clients and media do not seem to have looked so deeply.

Stuart’s points are well thought out and have validity. But how many clients of Threshers think this deeply? Very few I suspect and so the amazing coverage Threshers got has been worthwhile for them; the downsides that Stuart points out will probably be restricted to only a small percentage.

My own view is that a large proportion of the media lap up the light-hearted "isn't that amazing" story without any critical comment. I am afraid the minority think things through like Stuart. But I am not criticising the media. Budgets have been slashed and workloads increased and the time that was once available to analyse stories has disappeared. They have to get the coverage out. And they would still go with teh same angle as it is incredible how it was picked up and spread by so many.

Maybe I am being self-righteous. I must confess that until I read Stuart’s piece I was in awe of Thresher’s success and how it could be replicated. (I am still to some extent). Stuart’s alternative view has made me think otherwise I would be still saying, “isn’t that amazing.”


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