Gillette’s odd promo delivers some very weird results
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
A few weeks ago, my 80-year-old mother received an unsolicited package addressed to her from Gillette with two things inside: a razor and a note reading “Happy 18th Birthday!”
Why would someone send an octogenarian a birthday present for an 18-year old?
When she told my sister the story, it got weirder. A few weeks before the razor arrived, her oldest had turned 18. Was it for him somehow? And if so, why was it delivered well after his birthday?
My nephew has never lived at my mother’s address. But after much brain-racking, my sister came up with a theory: my father passed suddenly away nearly 17 years ago. With a newborn at the time, she stayed with my mom for a couple of weeks and bought a crib for him.
It turns out this isn’t an oddball story, after all.
A little searching on Gillette’s own website shows that, “My friend got a razor from Gillette for his 18th birthday – why didn’t I get one for mine?” is a frequently asked question. Gillette said the program’s recipients are “randomly chosen from the personal data we already hold, which is likely to have been gathered from a number of sources.”
Googling “Gillette Sends Razor for 18th Birthday” also shows the promotion has been running nationwide for at least 11 years and seems to backfire as often as it works. Thread after thread detail bumbled attempts to get a razor to a male on his 18th birthday. Some are from 16-year-old males, some are from 50-year-old women.
I’d love to see that stats on how often this works. Sure, razors are expensive and a low-expense gesture that gains a lifetime of blade purchases one out of every few times may well justify the cost of the missteps.
Based on my family’s experience (and what a simple Google search reveals), I’d say it acts as a real-world case study to support one of our most common pieces of advice: Be creative and take risks! But it helps to know who you’re talking to before you start talking.
- Gillette And The World’s Oddest Loyalty Promo? From The Cradle To The Shave – RSR Research
- My friend got a razor from Gillette for his 18th birthday – why didn’t I get one for mine? – Gillette
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What lessons should be learned about data mining and targeting from the incident related in the article? Are the benefits from such data mining efforts worth the risk of mishaps?