Vaccinated Americans like getting retail thank you freebies
Krispy Kreme’s announcement last month of a promotion offering a free glazed doughnut, available through the end of the year, to anyone receiving a COVID-19 vaccine was not viewed as a positive in some circles.
Dietitians, doctors and others pointed out that regular consumption of sweet, nutritionally deficient treats like doughnuts is directly tied to the nation’s obesity epidemic and associated ills. Others saw it as trivializing the serious nature of the pandemic that has taken over half-a-million lives in the U.S. since last year. Still others didn’t see much upside, looking at the issue from a purely business perspective.
Krispy Kreme, for its part, maintained that its show of “sweet support” for those protecting themselves and others from spreading the virus was meant as a simple gesture of thanks to its customers. No doubt, the chain expected extra traffic into its shops and add-on sales as a result of the promotion. The reluctance of some to receive the vaccine and the disinformation spread about it could just as well have backfired against the doughnut chain, however, if it was seen as taking a side in what most see as a public health issue but others view as a political matter.
Whether the promotion has moved the sales needle for Krispy Kreme is not publicly known at this point. It’s also a response that may not be fully quantifiable as vaccinations and the lifting of social distancing restrictions are no doubt contributing to greater traffic at the chain’s shops, even without the giveaway.
New research from Morning Consult doesn’t speak specifically to Krispy Kreme’s case, but it does suggest there is little downside for companies offering free products to Americans who have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19.
Forty-one percent of consumers surveyed said that they would feel more favorable toward a brand offering vaccine incentives. Forty-two percent said it would not affect their thinking one way or the other.
Nearly six in 10 Americans in the survey thought that offering rewards for vaccinations was a good way to encourage people to get them. Forty-four percent thought not.
A key finding is that 73 percent of those receiving the vaccine said they would likely take advantage of these promotional offers if they came from a local retailer. Men, Millennials and those identifying as Democrats were most likely to view these promotions favorably. Boomers, independents and Republicans felt differently.
- Will COVID vaccine promos take retail sales higher or just provide a short sugar rush? – RetailWire
- Krispy Kreme’s ‘sweet’ vaccine promotion leads to bitter Twitter war – The Washington Post
- Krispy Kreme CEO defends COVID vaccine promotion: ‘If folks don’t want to visit a donut shop, they don’t have to’ – Yahoo News
- Polling Suggests Little Downside for Brands Offering Free Products to Vaccinated Americans – Morning Consult
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Where do you come down on the business case for retailers offering promotional rewards to people getting COVID-19 vaccines? Does the Morning Consult research tell you that it’s safe to get behind such programs, or are they to be avoided?