Did Build-A-Bear destroy its brand with a successful promotion?
Sometimes “while supplies last” disclaimer language just doesn’t cut it with consumers. That was the case with Build-A-Bear Workshop’s “Pay Your Age” promotion yesterday, which drew large crowds at the chain’s stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. only to have many turned away when locations were closed due to “safety concerns,” according to a company statement.
The promotion, first announced on Monday, was enthusiastically received by consumers who saw the opportunity to purchase stuffed animals that typically cost between $10 and $25 for as low as a dollar. After being turned away, members of Build-A-Bear’s Bonus Club were instructed to refer to the company website to receive a voucher for promotion.
Videos across YouTube show parents and hundreds of small children waiting around for entry into local stores. Consumers, many of whom waited in line for hours, quickly turned to social media to express their unhappiness with Build-A-Bear. USA Today included screen grabs of tweets in its coverage of the event, including one that read, “@buildabear not being able to supply the demand on pay-your-age day is bad. making kids have to attend and being turned away at the door is disgusting.”
While it can be argued that Build-A-Bear is not “technically” at fault for the events of the day, there seems little doubt that the company’s brand will be damaged in the eyes of some — how many we do not know — in the process.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should Build-A-Bear have anticipated the chaos to come from its ‘Pay Your Age’ promotion? Do you feel that the chain responded properly? What will it mean for its brand equity going forward