Don’t You Love a New Toy

Earlier this month, Facebook dropped a bomb on the geolocation space by introducing deals via their Places mobile application. This move was a power play for the largest social network and a potential boon for advertisers looking to tap into the 100 million users of the Facebook mobile application.

In the initial roll-out, there were a number of merchants that partnered with Facebook to roll out the new deals feature, including Gap. Now along with the partnership, these companies gained the cache of being innovative in the social space.

Like many small companies that offer deals on geolocating networks for check-ins, the Gap had some issues with their maiden check-in campaign. The campaign seemed pretty straightforward where the company would offer 10,000 free pairs of jeans for check-ins at one of their stores. Problem was that the wording left both consumers and employees confused:

This Friday we’re giving away 10,000 pairs of jeans! Check-in at any Men’s & Women’s Gap using Facebook Places and you could win*. Just show any Gap employee your check-in and you could score a free pair. If you’re too late don’t worry, we’ll let you shop with 40% off any regularly priced item**.

All our stores are participating and have a certain number of jeans to give away, so from east coast to west coast and every store in between you can get in on the action!

*Friday, November 5, 2010, offer valid on a first come first served basis Friday November 5, 2010 only, starting at the time of store opening, at Gap stores in the U.S. only. Not valid at GapKids, babyGap, GapBody, Gap Outlet, Gap Factory Store, The Gap Generation stores, or online. Offer valid for one free pair of basic 5 pocket jeans with a value up to $59.50. Certain styles are not included in the offer. Store associates will pass out one coupon per person starting with the front of the line while supplies last. Coupon is good for one time use and must be surrendered at the time of purchase. Free item may not be returned. Only exchanges will be accepted. No substitutions allowed. No adjustments on previous purchases. May not be redeemed for cash or cash equivalent. Not combinable with any other offers. Gap is not responsible for lost or stolen coupons. Gap Inc. employees are not eligible for this offer.

Cashiers: Use item discount code FREEJEANS.
Source – Gap Facebook Event

Now if you read the copy there is no mention of how many pairs of jeans each store would have and there were a number of consumers who still did not know what checking in meant and employees weren’t sure of how to handle the promotion. The wall of the event was filled with negative comments. According to Fast Company, the promotion was a success, but to the whole promotion could have been managed better.

Sure from a financial standpoint, Gap sees this as a success, but from a social standpoint, there is still work to be done. To make these promotions truly sustainable, the company needed to educate its employees, from the team managing the strategy down to those on the front lines executing the promotion. To me, a company gets a major fail sticker when they can’t come through with their offer advertised on a network or if everyone in the store is clueless.

With Facebook inserting places into geolocation, there is no question that mainstream buy-in will continue to grow for them and the other players in the space. Companies will need to continue to optimize campaigns to meet customer need along with educating their staff.