Photo(shop) ganked from Gawker
There's no word that we can think of—with the exception of maybe "HoopzSexTape"—that gets us as excited as "free." Really, who doesn't love free shit? However, "free" always comes with a cost, as KFC, Oprah and millions of chicken-lovers recently discovered. In his entertaining book, Predictably Irrational, economist Dan Ariely writes: "Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE! we forget the downside. FREE! gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is." Companies are fully aware of this, so they're constantly baiting us with the promise of free stuff. But more often than not, "free" turns into fuckery.
With that in mind: For absolutely FREE!, we present six examples of free giveaways gone wrong. Read on for a humorous look at marketing misfires, and remember...it's all for FREE!
FREEBIE: CASH MONEY!
FREEBIE GIVER: CashTomato.com
WHAT WENT WRONG: In February 2008, a fledgling video-sharing site decided that it would be a swell idea to hand out free money in NYC's Union Square Park. What ensued was like a strip-club "Make It Rain" scenario...except with bums instead of naked dancers. "There were a lot of street people," said a CashTomato.com exec. "I didn't expect that." It is any wonder that the site no longer exists?
FREEBIE GIVER: Shawty Lo
WHAT WENT WRONG: L-O's charity Xmas toy drive turned sour when one disgruntled mom started wilin' out. We'll leave the commentary to a WSHH poster: Cheap broke bitch! how u gone be broke and ungrateful? i swear some women are just plane ole stupid! Nothing havin bitch should have gotten a job, where the fuck d lil faggots dad anyway? fuk u lookin for someone else to buy em toys for. dusty bunny ass broad! Yeah, what he said.
FREEBIE: YANKEE TICKETS!
FREEBIE GIVER: Pepsi
WHAT WENT WRONG: For stupid soda schemes, we were tempted to include Dr. Pepper's Chinese Democracy stunt, but other than some slammed servers, that wasn't a total L. We'll reserve the 12th letter for Pepsi, who promised to give away 250 pairs of opening-day Yankees tickets to fans in Times Square and instead delivered 100 pairs of tickets to a game in June. The only thing missing was a bag of dicks.
FREEBIE: AKON CONCERT!
FREEBIE GIVER: Fields Shopping Mall in Copenhagen, Denmark
WHAT WENT WRONG: Already at over-capacity, a free mall concert featuring Akon really went haywire when some clown pulled the fire alarm, ending the show. A brief riot ensued between police and Danish girls who had spent weeks tirelessly learning how to "make it clap."
FREEBIE: AIRLINE TICKETS!
FREEBIE GIVER: Hoover
WHAT WENT WRONG: The vacuum/washing-machine company's 1992 promotion—free airfare in Europe and U.S. for those who spent more than Â£100 on Hoover products—was one of the worst marketing fiascoes ever. The company endured an estimated $72.6 million (USD) in losses (and countless "Hoover sucks" jokes) due to the harebrained giveaway.
FREEBIE: ROLE ON AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL!
FREEBIE GIVER: Tyra Banks
WHAT WENT WRONG: It was sheer bedlam outside an NYC hotel last March when thousands of would-be models starting getting brolic, leaving six injured and three arrested. We don't know about you, but we'd watch the shit out of a show called SMACK THE SHIT OUT OF AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL.