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Was Sky Bet’s offer of free money an act of genius or madness?

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

As many sages have noted, there is a thin line between genius and insanity.

This is particularly true in marketing. And like so many things in our industry, which side of the line you fall on is often post-rationalised.

If your campaign was a success you are a hero and a creative pioneer. If it bombs you are a bumbling fool who simply doesn’t understand consumers.

Credibility is important when proposing ideas. So is rank. Many great ideas will not leave an agency simply because of who did or didn’t propose them.

One example of the guys at the top making a decision and putting their names to it is the New Coke episode of the 1980’s.

It is generally considered a case study in not really understanding the importance of the emotional attachment consumers can have to a brand and giving them something they didn’t ask for.

Nevertheless, to this day there are conspiracies that it was in fact a deliberate act of genius. Despite the main protagonists holding their hands up and admiting they got it wrong.

Given they remain dominant in the soft drinks market and are one of the biggest, most identifiable brands in the world, any damage was temporary.

Money For Nothing

On a smaller scale, late last night Zeitgeist was alerted to an opportunity to make free money.

Somehow, the fact that activating a couple of bonus codes on SkyVegas would allow a player to make a guaranteed £27 in five minutes, began doing the rounds on social media.

In the name of research, Zeitgeist gave it a go and sure enough my balance was £27 better off at the end of the exercise and the funds were withdrawn.

The question is, was this a huge error that is likely to see someone hauled over the coals or a great way to get new signups, as in the long run, the bookie always wins.

In all probability it was the former. The money has yet to appear in my bank account and if it doesn’t it will be proof that it was a mistake.

The ‘trick’ doesn’t work anymore, it was deactivated earlier this morning.

However, Skybet will know the value of a new customer. Perhaps they have identified that one who is online at close to midnight is particularly profitable in the long run.

And so, instead of spending their money on advertising, media and giving all players a standard £10 introductory bet, it is possible that Skybet decided to invest their budget in giving a more active type of customer a bigger incentive to sign up, just before the weekend, confident that they will get their money back with interest.

And if that is the case, then maybe it was an act of genius after all.

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