Adventures in Lame Viral Marketing, Courtesy of Ruby Tuesday
Yesterday, Ruby Tuesday punked us all by promising to broadcast a live video of them blowing up one of their restaurants "as a symbol of their commitment to change," but instead, Ruby Tuesday "accidentally" blew up the fake chain restaurant next door. On YouTube, newly created users (aka Ruby Tuesday plants) posted videos of the "accident," and later that day, an apology letter was posted on rubytuesday.com
Today, a video appears on their homepage with "Jim Robbins, senior VP of marketing," reading off cue cards, "apologizing" to Cheeky's Bar and Grill for the accidental destruction.
The marketers went as far as creating a lame, nonworking website for Cheeky's (created July 3, WHOIS records report), that reads:
Due to recent events, The Cheeky's Bar and Grill website is unavailable at this time.
If you witnessed the August 5 incident in which Ruby Tuesday, Inc. demolished our restaurant, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacting the email address on the Cheeky's website gets you an autoreply that reads:
Thank you for writing Cheeky's Bar and Grill. A representative might respond to your query within the next 48 hours. However, please note, response times may be even longer for inquiries regarding the incident that took place on Tuesday, August 5. Thank you.
Your Friends at Cheeky's
This whole affair seems amateurish and poorly orchestrated in comparison to viral marketing campaigns of the past. Ruby Tuesday arguably botched what could have been a complicated, humorous campaign, and this whole debacle shows how talented and clever you need to be to successfully pull off viral marketing stunts.