Avoiding a marketing debacle of build-a-bear magnitude

It was the shot heard ‘round the world last week when Build-a-Bear Workshop posted an urgent message on social media that it was closing lines on its Pay Your Age marketing campaign just an hour or two after most shops opened. Some in different times zones still had not opened for business that day. The sale generated lines more than a mile long and wait times of more than five hours in some places, forcing local authorities to close the lines down for crowd control.

If you haven’t heard the news that hit every media outlet in the country, Build-a-Bear is an experience-based company where consumers can build their own stuffed animals. Those animals can cost upward of $50. Pay Your Age was a one-day promotion that would have saved many families a lot of money.

Build-a-Bear executives said there was no way they could have anticipated such a huge response. Perhaps not, but better planning using tools at their disposal would have kept this promotion from spinning out of control.

Here are some lessons for helping your financial institution avoid a marketing debacle of Build-a-Bear magnitude.


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