Responsible Marketing

Cracker Barrel’s new promotion, and why context is key

By June 16, 2008July 23rd, 20202 Comments
gassing car

From a contextual standpoint, I wonder just how responsible the Cracker Barrel’s Greatest Family Road Trip game is.

While many are considering ways to cut back on driving, in this promotion, the more Cracker Barrels visited, the more chances a consumer has to win.

Drawing heavier criticism is the grand prize, a 2008 Monaco Cayman RV.

To be clear, I have nothing personal against RV’s, and this isn’t the place to talk about their environmental impact.

But I’ve seen gas prices as high as $4.59 per gallon and filling the 75 gallon tank at that price would set you back $344.25.

Amid these record gas prices, Cracker Barrel’s VP of Marketing Peter Keiser defended the promotion:

We thought long and hard about that concern. Families are still traveling this summer, but with gas prices, families are always looking for ways to save money by limiting other expenses. Families have a chance to win Cracker Barrel prizes … it helps them save money.

Winning prizes helps save money? Hmmm.

Okay, so the winner can accept $250,000 in cash instead, but as a marketer, would you hitch yourself to this wagon?

Comment below to weigh in.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Will Boyd says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but…

    From a purely marketing standpoint, I see this as, at least, not irresponsible. (From an environmental standpoint it is a horrible, horrible thing.) The reason I feel it is responsible is that it seems that it will appeal only to those already traveling (most likely in RV’s). These folks are likely already paying $350 to fill the tank of the RV. I don’t think it will create any more demand on gas. To me, this campaign is designed to give these RV’ers who are already on the road incentive to eat more meals at Cracker Barrel along their journey. I can’t see a family taking off on a road trip that they wouldn’t ordinarily take with the express intention of trying to win the RV. That would be a huge financial gamble with the price of gas where it is. I imagine that the RV community is a big demographic for Cracker Barrel, so it would be somewhat irresponsible financially not to market to them.

  • Bill Boyd says:

    Will makes a good point. But as a Prius-driving Northwesterner, the campaign makes me less inclined to do business with Cracker Barrel — not more. I also don’t think much of Dodge’s “$2.99 a gallon for two years” incentive. Can anyone make a case that encouraging gas consumption is good for the environment, the economy, or our standing in the world? It is “good” for Chrysler, but the benefits will be short-term at best. Acting more responsibly would likely put Chrysler far ahead over the long haul.

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