Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cheap Booze

My friend Sophie, our across the pond ‘correspondent’ if you will, forwarded an interesting story last week regarding British wine retail group, Threshers. The retail chain owns over 2,500 wine stores in England and Scotland and they have, of late, been experiencing first hand the power of the Internet.

Just in time for the holidays, the chain put out a discount voucher for 40% off all wine and Champagne between November 30th and December 10th. The generous discount was intended for suppliers and friends but it soon hit the web en mass through blogs, e-mail forwards, chat rooms and the like. Lines of thirsty Brits formed outside of the Threshers’ stores and throngs of people visited their website causing it to crash.

What was intended as a ‘private’ sale turned into a run on holiday booze — it seems even the teetotalers were rushing out to their local Threshers, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up, Haddows or The Local to get a piece of the action. Threshers is hoping that the sheer volume of business will make up for the fact that the offer spun out of control. At last check, the BBC reported over 800,000 downloads of the now infamous voucher.

I guess at the end of the day this is all “too little too late” since it is 7 days past the coupon expiration date — but it’s good to know that viral marketing is alive and well in cyber land.

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