Tags: asshats, facebook, krystal, marketing, scams, spelling
For those who’ve never heard of the Krystal burger, imagine the small, square goodness of a White Castle slider with steamed onions, mustard and a pickle. You’ll find them predominantly in the southeast United States, and the most controversial opinion when comparing “sliders” is that there are those who think Krystals are the best, and there are White Castle fans who just don’t know any better.
There’s a popular myth of their healing powers, in that if they’re ingested after a night of heavy drinking, they’ll keep one from having a hangover the next day. I’m letting you know in advance that it’s a myth, and will further assure you that the wrecked guts you’ll assuredly have for the next two days will have little to do with your consumption of alcohol. And yet, on occasion, we still love them…
Krystal was founded in 1932, and has been based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Given that it’s Krystal’s 80th anniversary, they began a new round of Social Media Marketing on their Facebook page, “The Official Krystal Lover Community,” around the end of September. A huge “Cast your Vote and Share!” campaign promised to bring back the twenty-five cent Krystal for a limited time. Thousands of people voted, and shared Krystal’s marketing with all of their friends and family.
It struck me as odd to begin with that their buggy counter constantly showed an arbitrary average of twenty-one thousand votes at any time you went to the page, often fewer than the previous time you went. My gut feeling is that there far more votes than that… But, on October 20th, Krystal had all “the votes tallied” and declared, “Yes! You’ll get twenty-five cent Krystals!”
Details came on October 22nd, when Krystal announced the results of their “Free Advertising” scheme.
One day, two hours. During a lunch break. Limit six. Seriously? With traffic being as it is at Krystal locations, and given that their parking lots are only slightly larger than their burgers, they’ll only be able to serve a handful of people. 80th Anniversary Fail!
Angry for being duped into providing Krystal with “free advertising” and getting nothing in return, Facebook Krystal fans had overwhelmingly negative comments. I immediately added my own dissent, to which Krystal’s social media personnel replied:
Truly pathetic that you guys are offering $0.25 Krystals for 2 hours on a Wednesday. That means it’ll be a miracle that more than a handful will get them for that price… It takes 20 minutes just to get one order!
The Official Krystal Lover Community: We’re doing it from 11-1 because lunch time is Krystal time, Mark! We wanted this to be a special lunch hour treat for our Krystal Lovers. Hope you can join us for lunch at a great price on Wednesday!
Mark: You’re not getting it, are you? 20 minutes just to fill an order. No travel time, nor time to eat on a half hour break, is there? This entire campaign was misleading. We expected $0.25 Krystals for at least a day — or even a coupon. This was a crock.
The Official Krystal Lover Community: Don’t worry, Mark. We’ve got folks primed and ready to crank out some serious Krystal goodness on Wednesday. One of our stores that did 25 cent Krystals for a customer appreciation day was able to turn out 1800 Krystals in 2 hours and that was just one location! So there’s no need to worry about having time to grab your Krystals on a lunch break. And if you don’t have time to eat ‘em you could always stick ‘em in the fridge to enjoy for dinner. Either way, it’s still 6 Krystals with cheese (or without) for just $1.50! And this is just the beginning Mark, we’ll be making sure to give you plenty of other deals, prizes, and more so that every Krystal Lover has a chance at something special as we celebrate our 80th Anniversary. We hope you can make it out to enjoy this special lunch with us on Wednesday, but if not we’ll look forward to showering you in other great deals as the celebration continues. If you still have concerns feel free to e-mail us at [email protected] We wouldn’t want to lose you as a Krystal lover. Thanks!
Typically, ineffective. But, to their credit, they haven’t deleted “many” of the negative comments.
I did, however, find another “in” to voice my concern when a Krystal employee emailed me directly:
Hi, if you are bothered by Krystal time limit and or quantity limit on their promotion this Wednesday call Mike Bass Senior Vp of Krystal. Mr. Bass number is 1-423-757-1540. If we as consumers don’t voice our opinion, companies will not know to change.
Perhaps a deluge of Telephone calls will make something happen. But you know — they’ll just change the number.
You have to admit, the deception was rather devious, using Facebook users to unwittingly give their company free marketing. But as with many businesses run by Business School grads, its ill effect is that it alienates existing customers and opts for going after “new business.” It’s a poor way to do business, and damages a company’s reputation irreparably with the “regulars” who provide patronage during the lean times.
One thing I want to reiterate: This is not the fault of Krystal employees, or individual locations. This was a corporate decision, and solely rests there. These aren’t the people you’re used to, as the company no longer belongs to the original family. These guys? They’ve also decided to move their headquarters from Chattanooga to the Atlanta area, a solid hour and a half away, which makes it pretty much impossible for the people who work there to commute.
As for the mis-spelling of “Compeny” up there? Just take a look the bottom part of The Krystal Company’s website to see what complete and utter geniuses their Social Marketing department are — they can’t even spell the word “Company” right.
Thank you… Drive through.
Note: Two images in this post represent Public Advertising by The Krystal Company, and used in a non-commercial, editorial fashion.