Today, Redbox carried out their “America’s Movie Night” campaign, offering a free one-night DVD rental to anyone who entered a certain promo code during that day. Many people — including myself — found ourselves trekking long distances to Redbox machines all over America to claim our free DVDs.
For anyone familiar with Redbox, you know that a one-night DVD rental costs all of $0.99.
That’s less than a small cup of coffee at a gas station.
And there was a passionate outcry from those for whom the code didn’t work. Here’s an immediate sample from their Facebook page:
“I love redbox but it shouldn’t be so hard to get a free rental.”
“our code for free movie night did not work,, we got charged, when I called I was told that they would send me a code to use on another movie! …”
“Your promotion today was screwed up and confusing. Keep it simple next time.”
“Next time ya do a promo you may want to make it easier. Ne’er had to navigate through so many pages in my life for a free product. Ridiculous.”
“WHAT KIND OF BULL CRAP IS THIS I WAS TOLD IF I LIKE REDBOX I WOULD GET A FREE MOVIE I RECEIVED MY PROMO CODE BUT WHEN I WENT TO REDEEM IT THE DAM BOX REJECTED IT!!!!!!!!!!!
Note that the image these complaints depict is more than likely a very distorted one; upset customers are much more likely to voice their opinions than satisfied ones.
But for those who were upset, there’s something truly revealing here. People getting angry, spending time with customer service, and angrily demanding easy access to their free product — all for one dollar.
What does this reveal more about: The importance of promises to consumers, or the value placed on “free” offers?