Oscar Mayer really loves to bring home the bacon -- or maybe it's bring the bacon home. It offered an app that, working with a device, could deliver a bacon-scented morning alarm. The company's new promotion, which started yesterday, is a bacon cryptocurrency.
Think of it as a mashup between breakfast meat and Bitcoin. Called Bacoin, it isn't quite like the Kodak cryptocurrency that is tied to blockchain-enabled rights distribution for photographers. People can trade that cryptocurrency.
The Oscar Mayer (a brand of Kraft Heinz Foods) promotion is more a variable value marketing scheme, depending on how much participants pass on ad messages. Consumers register and play an instant-win game online. Here is the explanation from the brand's rules:
"The value of the Bacoin is tied to overall sharing meaning that the more people who share via the website (as outlined above), the higher the value of the Bacoin. If overall sharing is slow, the value of the Bacoin will decrease. If sharing is slow and the value of the Bacoin is low, Sponsor may increase value of Bacoin in its sole discretion. The current value of the Bacoin will be displayed on the website. Once the Bacoin is at a value you want, follow the instructions to "cash out," and you will receive a coupon with the corresponding value (all possible values of the Bacoin coupon are outlined in Section 4 below)."
People who participate can help boost value by mentioning the promotion on Twitter or -- and this seems like it could end up biting the bacon's rump -- submitting the names and emails of three people they already know who are eligible to participate. If the recipients of bacon spam (not to be confused with the brand SPAM, which has been on its own advertising jag) don't complain to Oscar Mayer/Kraft Heinz, they might well to the person who signed them up for emails. Always ask before putting someone into the crosshairs of marketing.
Still, to provide consumers an incentive to spread the promotion is an interesting twist on what often happens when brands expect people to be so excited that they won't be able to help from joining in. That is to say, next to nothing.
The maximum amount of prize value that will be awarded is $48,000. By the company's own chart and claimed value of $8 for a one-pound pack (and you could get some pretty extraordinary bacon at that price if you shopped in the right places), it's the equivalent of 6,000 packs of bacon. But then, the total number of prizes is 2,000, so that could also mean as little as 1,000 pounds of bacon, broken up in half-pound packs of seven slices each. Or, dare I suggest, nothing.
Many are called to the slaughterhouse, few are chosen. But hardly what you'd call good pork-barrel planning.
The promotion doesn't last long. Everyone has to cash out (bacon out?) by May 21, so, three weeks.
The big problem in terms of marketing is the complexity. Prizes can drop in value as well as increase, and trying to keep track of what the 2,000 winners get will be confusing. Promotions work when people take a chance for something tangible. When it could be more, or less, or even nothing, there's little incentive to take part.
At the time of writing, the graph of the promotion showed a pretty low Bacoin value. Folks had better get working fast if they want enough bacon for even a reasonably sized BLT.