I must say, I have enjoyed several Tootsie Pops out of my whippersnapper's bucket since Halloween. Tootsie Pops, I explained to him, are the creme de la creme of lollipops. I pointed to the Dum Dums and said, "Those are subpar." He looked over at my Tootsie Pop pile and I realized my ghastly mistake.
"But Dum Dums are really good, too," I backpeddled. "In fact, they're better, because they're smaller and fit in your mouth." And then I clinched the deal by offering him a Dum Dum while surreptitiously scooting the Tootsie Pops under the rug and out of his sight.
Anyway, do you remember the story of how you get could a free Tootsie Pop if the wrapper had the Indian chief and star on it? Surely you do. Well, according to urbandlegends.com, Tootsie Roll Industries says this is a total myth and they've been sending form rejections to people since the 1930s who've written in requesting their free Tootsie Pop because they got an Indian Chief and star on their wrapper.
But then, urbandlegends.com reports, "since 1982 they've also enclosed a short work of fiction called 'The Legend of the Indian Wrapper,' apparently intended to serve as a sort of consolation prize." Now, I'm not one to decry a bit of fiction as a prize. In fact, if you ask me, that's a WIN. But surely they could send a free Tootsie Pop, too. What are they, 25 cents? For God's sake. Use your customer service muscle and give people a free one. Because guess what? They'll buy more if you do!
Oh sure, you say. Then people will save up the Indian chief star wrappers and take advantage of the program and Tootsie Roll Industries will go out of business fulfilling free orders for Tootsie Pops. Well, duh, print fewer of the wrappers! They currently appear on like a third of the wrappers, so make it like one in 500,000! Make it a prize worth buying tons of them for! Make it like a golden ticket!
What a fantastic promotion, and a way to engage with your customer base! Who's the Dum Dum now?
It's the same way in social media for business. Engage with people. Engage and offer something back. It gets them wanting more of your product, and it leaves them feeling all warm inside because you reached out.
And for writers--how can you engage with readers to make them want more? Give them yourself. Interact with people. (As opposed to just blasting stuff out at them and not responding or engaging.)
What do you think? Did Tootsie Roll Industries fail at this opportunity? I'll tell you what-- you tell me what you think, plus add in what you think the story is behind that Indian Chief and star. The most amusing answer will win a 20-count box of Tootsie Pops. Winner will be announced Friday on the Google Reader Roundup.*
* Do you hear that, Tootsie Roll Industries? I am doing your customer service for you. Sheesh.