Casual greasy spoon chain T.G.I. Friday's is so eager to add your e-mail address to its files that it's willing to give away half a million burgers to do it. And Facebook is playing along.
T.G.I. Friday's has announced that if you're willing to "Facebook-friend" its current advertising mascot, a fake Friday's superfan named Woody, it's willing to give you a free meal of either its Jack Daniel's Burger or its Jack Daniel's Chicken Sandwich.
The freebie goes to the first 500,000 people who become "Woody"'s friend on Facebook, and eligibility ends on Sept. 30, 2009. You'll have to enter an e-mail address for your burger coupon after you register yourself as a fan.
The catch is that the giveaway is contingent upon reaching the goal of half a million entrants. If Woody's page doesn't reach 500,000 fans, no one gets a coupon. Six days into the promotion/information gathering bonanza, the ad figurehead was barely past 76,000.
Parents may have already identified a second catch: Facebook is wildly popular with kids who are under age 21, yet these freebies, though non-alcoholic, are branded tie-ins with the famous whiskey.
T.G.I. Friday's parent company, Carlson Restaurants, may be plowing fertile new marketing ground with this tactic. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco may want to take note. Perhaps it can try something similar, such as distributing Camel Light-flavored potato skins as long as you friend Joe Camel.
Step right up, children. It must be all right if it's free.
(Speaking of, you can also become WalletPop's friend on Facebook, but we won't be providing any hooch-flavored gifts in exchange -- only money-savvy stories and tips, every day, for free.)
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