A Sales Promotion That is More About Gaining Publicity Rather Than Increasing Sales

As we note in our What is Marketing? tutorial, being creative is a trait needed by most marketers in most industries. Some marketers will argue that real creativity in marketing is really only needed when it comes to designing attractive products or creating memorable advertisements. But that is not the case. Many other marketing decisions require a thinking-outside-the-box mindset. For instance, being creative by using a sales promotion tactic to achieve a public relations goal.

In our Types of Sales Promotion tutorial we see the message being sent by many sales promotions, such as coupons, trade-ins and promotional pricing, is that customers will be saving money if they accept the promotion. For most marketers, the goal of these promotions is to generate additional sales. For instance, back in July we talked about a $10 all-you-can-eat appetizer promotion offered by TGI Fridays. This promotion was clearly intended to drive more customers into the restaurant with the hope they will spend money on additional food and drinks.

However, some promotions, where the price appears to be lowered, may actually not have a goal of generating more sales, rather its objective is to generate interest from the news media. In effect, these sales promotions are intended to aid public relations rather than directly impact sales. For example, as discussed in this Time story, back in September the restaurant chain Olive Garden ran a Never Ending Pasta Pass promotion where customers, who bought a $100 pass, can eat an unlimited number of pasta meals (that also includes salad, soup and few other things). The difference between Olive Garden’s promotion and the one run by TGI Fridays is that Olive Garden only made available 1,000 passes, which sold out in just a few minutes.

So it is obvious the goal of this promotion was less about driving up sales and more about driving up publicity. Moreover, if that really is the goal then it is likely a very successful promotion as it not only caught the attention of the news media, but also lead many customers to share their experience online.