Feeding an Ailing Economy

This past Saturday, the New York Times ran an article about how some retailers, such as Supervalu and Domino’s Pizza are launching aggressive campaigns targeting consumers who are about to receive their federal stimulus rebate checks (individuals are getting $600 on the average while, couples are getting $1,200). What is making some raise their brows is that retailers are offering special 10% bonus gift cards and other special inducements provided that consumers spend their entire windfall on their products.

Yet not all retailers are falling in line. Wal-Mart, for instance, feels that stores that are engaging in this type of behavior are being “irresponsible”–certainly indicative of the fact that, at least in the corporate world, “irresponsible” is all in the eye of the beholder.

Is the marketing ploy creative or just plain desperate?  And, is any marketing campaign ever really “responsible” if it aims to convince consumers of something that, in theory, they wouldn’t do without seeing the ad? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure: Anyone who spends $600 at Domino’s has even bigger health problems than our economy …

  • http://www.savvywallet.com Austin Chu

    I agree with your post. I work for a company that manages and tracks gift cards, and we blogged about this issue on savvywallet.com. Even though it may seem like retailers are helping the consumers, I think there is more to it. Consider this: Last year $100B was spent in gift cards and $8B was lost undredeemed. It’s simply too early to tell, how many people will never be able to cash in on their stimulus.