A QuikTrip Campaign

March 2, 2009 § 4 Comments

This past Wednesday may have very well been the last time I get all hot and sweaty from playing roller hockey.

It was our last hockey practice of the season.  We’ve got regionals this weekend, but that means we are actually supposed to care about winning and as such will be playing the short rotation of 8 guys who are actually really good on our team.  One of them is Canadian, which I think gives him some kind of unfair advantage.  Like I could be that good, too, if I regularly abused performance enhancing drugs (or just grew up with a rink in my backyard.  Which I think is more likely his case).  I hope the league puts an asterisk next to all of his goals and assists.

One of our prized and cherished hockey traditions is going to Quik Trip after practice every Wednesday night.  For those uninitiated, Quik Trip is kind of like a 7-11, but with a Gas Station in the front and a white guy behind the counter.

Back in the days of yore, you could get a 52oz yellow Gatorade from the soda fountain for a scant $0.99.  Two bucks and you’d have chips and a drink for the ride home, and enough electrolytes in your system to do this move from Street Fighter II. Now the 52oz cup is like $1.29, and you can only get a 32oz-er for $0.99.  In this rare instance, I’m not a big fan of changeAlternative comment: Interesting how the price of Gatorade at Quik Trip has inflated more over four years than the price of the gasoline (minus, of course, last summer’s Bush-fueled extravaganza).

Speaking of change, here’s my other favorite thing about Quik Trip:  whenever your purchase total comes out to something like $1.97, the cashier will take your $2 bill, give you a nickel back in change, and say “thaaaaaaaanks have a good one.”   It’s not about making 2 cents on the deal every time.  Or about the fact that I’ve consistently been able to launder those afor-linked-to phony $2 bills there.  It’s about the fact that I don’t have to carry around pennies in my wallet. There are few worse feelings in the world than having to carry around 3 cents in change.   So I thank QT for their gesture of kindness.  And in the off occasion when my order totals $2.22, I’ll let them keep my change.  Generosity begets generosity, I suppose.

Here’s my idea for an awesome advertising campaign for Quik Trip: Abolish the penny. Don’t even bother carrying them in the cash registers.  Announce to the world that you’re not carrying pennies anymore.  Round up or round down on every purchase that comes down to a matter of cents. There’s certainly already a calling for this.

Is this legal? I don’t know, actually.  Could they get sued for false advertising if they say that a hotdog will cost $0.98 after taxes and then they charge someone a whole dollar?  Would someone be obnoxious enough to sue over this? I guess we’ve heard worse. Even if it is illegal, the campaign might still be massively effective. Here are a couple of examples that are popularly cited in marketing classes from video game company, Acclaim. (Remember NBA Jam? That was these guys):

  1. In the U.K., to promote racing game “Burnout 2,” Acclaim offered to pay for every speeding ticket in the country on the day of the game’s release.
  2. in 2002, to promote a game “Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance,” purportedly the bloodiest game of all time, Acclaim announced a “bloodvertising” campaign.  They intended put up posters and fliers that actually seeped a red, blood-like substance over the course of a week.

Both campaigns have obvious moral hazards, and neither of them ever actually went into effect.  As it turns out, Acclaim never actually intended for the campaigns to be executed.   Consider the massive free publicity they received from every single newspaper and website that ran a piece on the “obscene” ad campaigns.  Huge wins.  (By the way, you can read up on a few other entertaining guerrilla marketing campaigns here.)

So that’s the deal.  Quik Trip announces they’re abandoning the penny, newspapers say “what the hell?!”, the insiders chuckle, and everyone’s stopping by Quik Trip to see what all the hubbub is about.

You can thank me by bringing the price back down on my beloved 52oz.


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