my cofounder and partner in crime, Brian, mentioned something interesting while we were discussing the story about the starbucks customer (below). starbucks could have made the whole thing up for the purposes of viral marketing.
think about it, what if they gave one out of a thousand drinks for free, and told the customer it was the car in front of them who paid? two things would happen: they would make a lot of customers happy for very little money, and people would start noticing a trend.
provided starbucks could keep it under wraps, this would undoubtedly make news – “starbucks customers a friendly lot!” the headlines would exclaim. In fact, I think running this campaign for just one or two weeks, before anyone had a chance to catch on to the ulterior underpinnings, would be enough to tip a fad, and regular customers would start paying for the people in back of them.
pretty soon, the movement would have wings and everyone would think of starbucks customers are these amazing people who do wonderful things (and in fact, they would be). heck, people would then attribute it to the company itself, and starbucks would shine their tarnished image.
Whoa, I just gave myself chills. I think I need to package this up and mail it to them or something.