This email from Shake Shack merits several Fails for Offer.
The offer stated in the body copy reads, “…grab a burger with your new connection + score the second burger on us.” That suggests that all I need to do to get a free burger is purchase one burger. However, the disclosure* below the offer reads that there is a minimum purchase of $10 using the app, specifically: “Minimum Shack App order of $10 for offer to apply.” Where I live, that’s more than a burger. At my local Shake Shack in high-priced New York City, a Shack Burger costs $5.59, and a simple hamburger costs $4.89. So it would take a purchase of a Shack Burger, fries, and a soda ($11.13) for a customer to take advantage of the offer.
The steps involved in getting that second burger are complex – another Fail for Offer. A customer has to download an app called Bumble, swipe through something, find a profile that contains a promo code and “deets,” then redeem the offer using the promo code in the Shack App at a participating Shake Shack. That’s a lot of steps just to get a free burger. It’s not clear to me if a customer can get the free burger at the same time as purchasing a burger. If not, that’s a third Fail for Offer for not disclosing that the free burger is available only on a return visit.
There is a fourth Fail for Offer – offering only five days for a customer to take advantage of the offer. So during the work week, a customer has to download an app, find a connection on the app, and arrange to go together to Shake Shack to follow the several vague steps in the email to obtain value.
Bumble appears to be a dating app, but one wouldn’t know from the email from Shake Shack. It does not explain what the app is, nor does the landing page from the email link. It appears to me that the rationale for the offer is to encourage a friendly non-Tinder date by using the app to get a burger. That’s nice – but what are “deets” in this context? Sure, “deets” is often slang for “details”, but there is other slang used in the email. Is “deets” in this context supposed to be a new short-hand combination of “dating” and “meeting”? I can’t find any mention of the term on Bumble’s website. According to Wikipedia, DEET is a type of toxin used to repel bugs. I certainly wouldn’t want any DEET on my Shack Burger! A cursory search in Urban Dictionary and the Online Slang Dictionary suggest it could refer to “details,” “gossip,” “stolen credit cards,” a racial derogatory term or to NSFW sexual acts best not described in an email from a family-friendly burger chain. The type of customer Bumble may want to target -- presumably young, urban, single professionals -- might know what “deets” means. However, Shake Shack is sending these emails to a much wider group of customers -- presumably everyone with the app who has not yet opted-out from receiving emails -- which is why this use of slang might merit a Fail for Creative.
- Explain your offer clearly in the body of an email. Don’t rely on a Disclosure to present the terms of an offer.
- Keep the process of redeeming an offer easy. Don’t make your customers jump through hoops for small rewards.
- Give your customers an adequate window to take advantage of your offer.
- If you don’t know your audience, be judicious in the use of slang.
* Many people mistakenly refer to the small print associated with marketing communications as a disclaimer when, in fact, it is a disclosure. According to , a “ is “the act of disclaiming; the renouncing, repudiating, or denying of a claim; disavowal” while a “ is “the act or an instance of disclosing; exposure; revelation.” “ is defined as “to make known; reveal or uncover.” From a marketing standpoint, a disclaimer is an admission that the headline is false – otherwise, why renounce it? However, a disclosure provides secondary but relevant facts of an offer. So the only reason an offer or marketing communication would require a disclaimer is if it were misleading from the onset.