No Matter How Cutting Edge Your SM Campaign — Basics Still Vital

I recently visited Saks 5th Ave’s NYC flagship store for the first time — to redeem a foursquare promotion (sponsored by InStyle) which seemed quite creative.  Visitors to Sakes needed to check in at 2 out of 4 hotspot areas within Saks to receive a free Nars lipstick as their prize.

It’s a pretty sweet giveaway and was definitely enough to get me  in house — even though I’d never felt the need to visit the department store previously.  Seeing as how I’m a young professional with expendable income — I’m actually probably an ideal new customer for the brand.  Too bad the promotion and visit to Saks was such an #epicfail.

What happened, you ask? Well, for starters, Saks 5th Ave in NYC has horrible phone reception.  And, in addition to that basic necessity — the promotion in foursquare wasn’t listed under Saks, but instead was listed under InStyle.   So, I had to keep searching and searching within the app for the right check-in.  I even asked the Nars makeup counter if they knew the right name for the promotion.  They did not.  I have patience a plenty, but this was just annoying.

Finally, once I figured out the right name, I found all of the InStyle listings. Standing in place (as opposed to travelling to each floor/store area), I checked into 2/4 hotspots, the requisite to get the promotion.  I was so frustrated, even though I was looking forward to seeing the various areas — I just wanted to get the heck outta Saks as fast as possible.

From there, however, it was a thwarted scavenger hunt within Saks as no one knew where I needed to go to redeem my prize. First, I was told human resources on 10 (11?). Then, once I got there, there was sign to go to 7.  I’m sorry — I thought checking in was the ‘work’ I’d signed up for.

Resolute to get some redeeming value from my trip, I kept going and finally ended up at the right place — some obscure customer service window.  I waited in line for another 10 minutes before I received my prize: a horrible Nars lipstick color — essentially the color of my skin.  Somewhat crestfallen, it was clear that I was never going to be able to use the product.

So, what could have been a really edge-y, hip promotion, building goodwill for both Saks and InStyle instead soured me on both.  The fact that the color was unusable just added insult to injury.   It just stands as a reminder that if basic aspects of a campaign fail — the coolness/innovative factor doesn’t matter a bit.

Really disappointed in ya’ll, Saks  & InStyle.

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