Tradeshow marketers spend hours trying to scheme up new and unique programs to drive booth traffic and these often include free giveaways. Ironically, the simplest things such as t-shirts or bags can be good traffic generators, and it is amazing that people can get so excited about tchotchkes that cost $2 or less.
One common approach is a two tiered program where you hand out an inexpensive item (like a t-shirt) and tell booth visitors that they must be wearing it to be eligible for a future drawing for a more expensive item. In order for this to work, the vendor must have an ample supply of the initial giveaway and the final item must be of high enough value to encourage participation. As you can imagine, marketers spend a ton of time and money putting together these programs.
Now fast forward to the recent VMWorld show, FalconStor used a two tier program where they offered free t-shirts at their booth and then had a drawing for a Segway scooter. The program stipulated that attendees must be wearing the FalconStor t-shirt at the time of the drawing to be eligible.
Well, in classic case of sales people ignoring the marketing people, the sales folks at the booth picked a winner who was not wearing a t-shirt and decided to give him the Segway anyway. This contradicted the terms of the program and the audience did not react favorably. This is a marketers worst nightmare; their carefully orchestrated program has been ruined and it is clear that many booth visitors left feeling angry. Click more to see the YouTube video which shows what happened; it is quite humorous and makes you wonder “what were they thinking?”