Radiohead did it about a year-and-a-half ago, Alfalfa and the rest of the Little Rascals did it seven decades ago, and now, the Little Bay Restaurant in London is doing it...and reaping the benefits of Pow! on an international basis.
The "it" is a simple attention-generating device, allowing customers to "pay what they want" for a product or service, which is what Little Bay's owner Peter Ilic is offering his customers for the rest of the month (see pix of the tell-tale sign and receipt). There are a number of factors at work here that see the ploy generating an exponential amount of buzz all over the world:
- Timing is impeccable; the story is tailor-made for recessionary days
- The offer is concrete, easy to explain and understand
- The offer comes from a high-end eatery; Little Bay is no greasy spoon, with a menu that features such epicurean delights as foie gras, smoked salmon, caviar and filet steak (not to mention live opera as in-house entertainment)
When March rolls around and the price tags once again appear on the menu, he'll be back in business big time.
Same thing goes for Denny's, who rolled out a free Grand Slam breakfast for everyone in America last week after its Super Bowl ad (crummy ad; exquisite Pow! offer). Cost them $5 million, with more than half of that spent on the ad alone. Return? $50 million worth of coverage, and a whole slew of new customers, or at least new customer attitudes (my younger son Hayes stood in line for a couple of hours in Idaho waiting for his Grand Slam and had a blast; it was live social networking where everyone was talking Denny's).
Yeah, times are tough. But as one of the four major Surprise Marketing Theories espouses: Big Balls Beat Big Budgets. The disproportionate results of these two very different restaurants demonstrates that to the risky go the spoils of victory.