Business Studies Course - Marketing
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Promotions - Functions

Read the text and then answer the questions opposite (questions 1 - 8). Check with "Answers" at the bottom of the page.

A good promotion can do wonders for a company's image. A really bad promotion can make it a legend. Here are some examples of promotions that turned into nightmares!

Case 1. Thanksgiving day in the USA is when the American people eat turkeys by the thousand. So a company which produces bourbon decided to treat the people of a particular US city to free turkeys. The turkeys were loaded into six planes which then dropped them onto the city from the air. The idea was that when the turkeys landed, they could be caught, killed and eaten by whoever found them. Unfortunately no-one had remembered that turkeys cannot fly, and furthermore, they are very heavy birds. The citizens of the unfortunate city were terrified by high velocity turkeys smashing into buildings, cars and streets. The bombardment continued for several hundred birds until the planes could be persuaded to stop.

Case 2. A British company making domestic appliances such as vacuum cleaners and fridges offered a free flight to the USA for every 100 spent on their products. For some reason, they were surprised when thousands of people, instead of buying plane tickets, bought vacuum cleaners instead. The company tried to say that the offer had been a mistake, but people who had taken the offer insisted on getting their flights. In the end it cost the company 19 million, and the boss his job. For years afterward, second-hand vacuum cleaners could be bought for a song.

Case 3. A soft drinks company that had been expanding across the world decided to launch its product in Asia. They bombarded the target country with advertisements, launched massive promotions, and cut the price of the drinks well below cost. They knew from blind tastings that consumers preferred the taste of their drink, so they concentrated on pushing the brand, almost regardless of expense. Several hundred thousand dollars later they discovered the problem. The name of the soft drink was the same as the word in the local language that meant 'sweat'.

Case 4. A tennis star was sponsored by a well-known sportswear manufacturer to wear their tennis shoes during matches. Several games later, it was noticed that the star had switched back to a rival brand. The manufacturers were furious, and they sued her to get their money back. A highly publicised court case followed, in which the star complained that it had been impossible to wear the shoes. She said they were so uncomfortable that they ruined her game. Soon tennis fans got to hear of the star's opinions and sales of the shoes followed a predictable downward curve.

 

1. 'High velocity turkeys' means that the turkeys..
a. were angry.   
b. fell a long way.   
c. fell very fast.   
d. injured many people.   

2. What was the main problem with the promotion in case 1?
a. It was ridiculously generous.   
b. Basic research wasn't done.   
c. Bad publicity.   
d. There was no local input.   

3. Second-hand vacuum cleaners became cheap in case 2 because ..
a. the company went bankrupt.   
b. 19 million were sold.   
c. they were sold by mistake.   
d. many people sold them.   

4. What was the main problem with the promotion in case 2?
a. It was ridiculously generous.   
b. Basic research wasn't done.   
c. Bad publicity.   
d. There was no local input.   

5. In case 3, 'well below cost' means ..
a. medium profit.   
b. low profit.   
c. no profit.   
d. losing money.   

6. What was the main problem with the promotion in case 3?
a. It was ridiculously generous.   
b. Basic research wasn't done.   
c. Bad publicity.   
d. There was no local input.   

7. Why did the star not wear the shoes she was paid to?
a. Tennis fans did not like it.   
b. The shoes kept switching.   
c. She was not comfortable in them.   
d. She didn't like the company.   

8. What was the main problem with the promotion in case 4?
a. It was ridiculously generous.   
b. Basic research wasn't done.   
c. Bad publicity.   
d. There was no local input.   

ANSWERS