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Jonathan’s Card (a.k.a Faux-Starbucks app)
In an "app experiment," developer Jonathan Stark recently put a $300 Starbucks gift card on his website as a downloadable bar code for smartphones. Users could either buy a coffee on Stark or add money to give a coffee to someone else. The good news was the app became an instant hit, but the bad news was most users thought it was a viral marketing ploy from Starbucks. Even after a Starbucks spokesperson said the company had no knowledge of the app experiment, Stark still had a hard time convincing users otherwise.
Lesson: Going big can backfire. Make sure your message is clear.