When A Marketing Campaign Goes Wrong: Customers Have Confronted Jeep Over “Flawed” Competition



This is the perfect example of a badly executed marketing campaign. Customers have confronted into Jeep over a flawed competition held yesterday morning. The disgruntled customers said that the contest is unfair and they threatened to take legal action against the car company.

With more furious customers increasingly used social media to release their anger, the luxury car company found its Facebook wall flooded with complaints and threats for a lawsuit after the incident yesterday.

The story started at 9.00am on Thursday where Jeep’s “The World’s Most Remote Dealership” promotion had intended to reveal to customers a phone number they could ring to be the first to buy one of 10 Jeep Cherokees for just $10,000. The cars, which normally sell for around $30,000, has caught the eye of around 50,000 customers who immediately signed up for the competition.

However, Jeep had not anticipated that users may not be watching the countdown timer from their smartphones. It turned out as some customers waited for the clock to tick over to 9.00am, many of them did so from their tablets. When the countdown was over, the company revealed the location of Jeep’s remote dealership and prompted customers to use a ‘call now’ button with the competition hotline number. However, tablet users couldn’t use the calling function.

However, the problems had arisen long before 9.00am as the countdown was apparently set by current device time. When it reached zero (9am device time), it would check in with the server and show the location and phone number. Thus, if users set the time on their device forward, they had an unfair advantage of gaining the information before other contestants.

Furthermore, users without GPS also claimed to had the biggest disadvantage, as the app demanded the use of GPS tracking to proceed when the countdown was over.

Shortly afterwards, Jeep’s Facebook Page was filled with wrathful posts, currently at just over 900. Most of them demanded the company to re-run the competition. A Jeep Fiasco Class Action Lawsuit Facebook Group also appeared with more than 400 members, as well as a webpage dedicated to signing up for the class action. One user said they had also written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the case.

Jeep responded to the upheaval, but did nothing particular to overcome the heated situation.

“Wow! Thanks Australia for your amazing participation in ‘The World’s Most Remote Dealership’ promotion. We can see that some of you are disappointed — there were over 30,000 calls made this morning for the chance to buy just 10 vehicles,” said a Facebook post from the company.

“Once we had confirmed our 10 buyers, we updated all our social media channels that the promotion was now over. We also closed the phone lines, as we thought this would indicate all the cars were gone! Sorry if this confused some of you.”

“We love your passion for Jeep; stay tuned for more exciting and unique promotions and offers.”

While the laws differ from state to state and are dependent on the prize value, Facebook competitions should have to comply with these regulations.