The Bruegger’s Bagels Facebook lesson

Jonathan Sweet, Editor In Chief

Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief
March 27, 2013
Filed under Jonathan Sweet

Running a big promotion through social media can be a great way to drum up business whether it’s a special discount, free boat show tickets … or a free bagel.

There’s some downside risk, too, if you’re not ready for an onslaught of traffic to your website. Even when that happens, though, you can salvage the situation with some good social media PR.

Take a lesson from Bruegger’s Bagels and their Facebook promotion launched last week in the Minneapolis area. The company offered a free bagel sandwich to anyone who clicked through to their special promo site, starting at 10 a.m. March 21. Clearly, Bruegger’s underestimated the demand for free stuff, as the site promptly crashed, prompting negative comments on the company’s Facebook page  and via Twitter. (I myself Tweeted about it as an object lesson on the potential problems of running an online promotion or contest.)

Certainly no Dominos-level social media disaster , but still a little mud in the face for the brand. Nothing overly damaging even if Bruegger’s had left it there.

Instead, the company’s social media team immediately leaped into action, responding to comments on Facebook, Twitter, etc. This prompted supporters to jump in as well.

This potential negative turned into a positive as the company continued to reach out to its customers and, as you can see in the comment trail, most of those customers got their coveted breakfast sandwich.

There are two key takeaways here:

  1. Think carefully before you launch a big promotion. Check with your Web hosting company to make sure your site can handle a boom in traffic.
  2. If something goes wrong, act quickly. If people are complaining about you, engage them and try to make it right.

For more on this topic, be sure to go to our webinar page where you can check out our archived digital marketing webinars, as well as sign up for future webinars. We’ll also be taking a deep dive into social media in May in the print edition of Boating Industry and on


One Response to “The Bruegger’s Bagels Facebook lesson”

  1. Josh Chiles on March 29th, 2013 11:52 am

    Great advise Jonathan!

    Almost 3 years ago when we launched our first "Like to Win" Facebook campaign for one of our clients, there was a problem with how the app worked on the IE browser. This caused a lot of comments like; "why doesn't it work" or "cannot enter". There were even a few people calling it a "scam". We stayed up until 2 am that night working on a fix, but more importantly, answering everyone's comments.

    Our take away - make sure your campaign or app works on all the popular web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE) before launching.


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