Thresher has said it will honour the vouchers – so if that all goes smoothly, it shouldn’t echo Hoover where there were administrative hoops to jump through that alienated “customers” and gave more media mileage. (BTW – my parents had a great holiday in Florida with that offer eventually)
 Businesswise, this doesn’t look like Hoover (where you got back more than you spent – a break to Florida being aspirational and much more than a vacuum cleaner that no-one really wanted), so it will depend on when any financial results are announced – and there is probably an added bonus of keeping business away from competitors at the busy Christmas period.
 Thresher aren’t playing this as a clever initiative using new media – according to Channel 4 news, Thresher Group PR Manager, Dirk Kind claims: “The initial e-mail was to our suppliers and we didn’t say ‘friends and family’. It has just absolutely snowballed way beyond anything we anticipated.” Interesting to see if it becomes presented as a case study in using new media despite this should it prove to be a success.
 Kind is also reported as saying there was an error in not ensuring the coupons specified limited use for suppliers – which is a major lesson for anyone in PR organising competitions or offers not to ignore the legal dimension.
 There are dozens of vouchers circulating online at present making this the marketing tactic of the moment, but only Threshers has hit the headlines. This is a reminder that there is much more to generating buzz than the tactics used. There needs to be relevance, the right online influencers involved, connections to a wider offline audience, and an angle for the media. The timing co-incided with debate about whether the Internet could challenge the “booze cruise”, for example.
I have a feeling this will work out fine for Threshers – but all those piggybacking on the idea believing it is easy to create online buzz should be prepared to explain to eager bosses why their campaign hasn’t captured the headlines.