The campaign started when Dr Pepper, which is part of Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group, said it would give every American a free 20 oz. Dr Pepper if the rock band Guns N’Roses released its anticipated ”Chinese Democracy“ album by the end of 2008. Guns N’Roses delivered, Dr Pepper did not. To get the “free” 20 oz. Dr Pepper, you had log on to and register. The company would then send you a coupon for a free Dr Pepper. The offer was valid for only 24 hours starting at midnight, Sunday.

I tried to log in during the designated time but their server was obviously overwhelmed and I received the error shown in the first image below. I tried several times. When I tried again today, I got the notice that the offer had expired. They did extend the offer by a few hours.

If you had the opportunity to gather more email and mailing addresses of people interested in your product than your server could handle, would you end it before collecting as many names as you could? Free advertising. Probably millions of free hits for less than the cost of a superbowl ad. What’s a Dr Pepper cost the company? Probably less than the cost of MAILING the stupid coupons.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. I’d bet you’d do a better job with a couple million seriously interested prospects.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
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