See Andy's other stuff:

RSS Feed

Follow Andy

Contact Me >>

I'll give you an iPad if you'll be my friend!

Imagine if you said that to a real person. It’s like saying, “I’m desperate for friends, but I’ll pay you to hang out with me.”

Folks, true friendship does not involve a cash transaction.

But advertisers make these awful offers every day, trying to buy friendship. Sad, desperate — and terrible marketing.

True friends are earned through loyalty, service, care, and shared good times.

In the classic words of Hugh MacLeod:


Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.


  1. mikemost July 19, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    well put Andy… though I clicked :)

  2. Mitchel Ahern July 19, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Yes! This is like the perverse definition of “loyalty” marketers use.

    I haven’t been doing a lot of flying lately, so when I booked a recent flight I noticed most of my frequent flyer points have evaporated which led me to ponder on the nature of Loyalty Programs; what are they good for?

    Now I don’t know if I’m normally “loyal” to this airline, but I do prefer to fly with them. They’re the first airline I check when I know I have a trip coming up. Is that loyalty? Or just frequency? Even though they’re a “no-frills” airline I find their air travel experience to be consistent, reasonably priced and predictable. So should I be “rewarded” for flying with them? And what form should that take? The airline gave me points to use on another flight, but apparently I had to use them in a certain time frame.

    But does this help make me more loyal? I don’t think so, in some ways it makes me *less* loyal. There’s a bit of a bad taste, yes? I was given a present, and then it was taken away because I didn’t use in the way the giver wanted me to. Maybe I should try a different airline’s points, maybe they’d be worth something?

    The fact is “loyalty” generally seems to mean staying “true” to an entity no matter what, so I guess I’m staying loyal to this airline despite their loyalty program.

    But I do like them just a little less.

  3. stephen q shannon July 19, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    What a great combo, you and Hugh, a huge and highly interactive favorite even when he is not sharing DMs.

    My take? Both messages need repeating just like, oops, Advertising. Takes about 7 exposures to gain traction and action. Correct?

    Thank you! sQs Delray Beach FL

  4. Eleanor Pierce July 19, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Oh, man! I clicked on this post hoping to win a free iPad!

    (Only sort of kidding.)

  5. Nate Bagley July 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Love this.

    I’m trying to pound this into my team right now. People are changing. Our culture is transforming.

    Business success is no longer about what you shove in front of your customers’ faces, it’s about what you show them when they walk through the door. It’s about a smile. It’s about a relationship. It’s about providing a memorable experience. It’s about fulfilling a need, and fulfilling it well.

    “Advertising” is broken… or at least it’s breaking. Or maybe it’s always been that way, and we just didn’t know it. (50% of my marketing works, and 50% doesn’t… I just don’t know which is which.)

  6. Randy July 27, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I don’t think offers/contests like these are the problem.

    It’s on the company to make offerings that are genuine and true to their customers.

    For example, McDonalds giving away an iPad to get “likes” is phony and misguided. However if an Apple computer repair shop was to giveaway the same thing, it might be more on target and it could become a “shared good time.”

Get My Newsletter!

Subscribe to Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! for a weekly email full of unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Great marketing is about brains, not bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers:

Never display this again