When I first read the story of a RadioShack franchise running a promotion that gave away a free shotgun, my first reaction was holy smokes!
However, the more I thought about the idea, the less shocking it seemed. In fact, the two men responsible for the promotion (Steve Strand, a RadioShack owner in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, and John Marshall, the owner of the RadioShack in Mountain Home, Idaho) are pretty bright guys who have rediscovered the lost art of local marketing. For the record, those who do not qualify for the gun or do not want the weapon can opt for a $50 Pizza Hut coupon.
RadioShack, which does not directly control franchise promotional activity, told The Consumerist, “This offer is not consistent with our recommended marketing practices for independent dealers. We are in discussions with the dealer to end the promotion.”
These guys live where hunting and fishing are popular activities. What they are doing is legal, and it is helping drive business. Considering RadioShack’s Texas/cowboy roots, I would have thought it would have been a bit more open to such a promotional effort. If they had given away something a bit more traditional, say a free 2GB USB drive, would his local customers have taken note? Probably not.
Would this idea have worked at a downtown Boston, New York or Chicago RadioShack? Probably not, but I wonder if New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg would have blown a gasket over the Pizza Hut coupon since he is against all things fattening and tasty.
For me, Stand and Marshall tuned their promotion to their customer base and should be applauded for their effort.