Pret the sandwich chain says it gives free coffee to people they ‘like’ … but will this PR harm its business?
You can imagine the scenario – a load of uber trendy people from Pret having Pret coffees with some PR types (the sort that come up with the phrase ‘Talk to Pret’ and think that makes them sound good…)
“I know,” says one, “Let’s put out a PR release saying Pret gives free coffees to people it likes…”
The idea, one assumes, is that customers will flock to Pret hoping they are pretty enough, polite enough or trendy enough to be the ones to get that free coffee.
Oh what fun it will be for all those potentially lucky customers!
Or will it? Will this PR spell disaster for Pret?
I can imagine the person who came up with this ridiculous idea patting him or herself on the back at the time.
Presumably he or she had a lot clout for this absurd idea to even see the light of day – or Pret is desperate for free puffs in the national press.
Yes it has gained publicity. Several national newspapers, such as The Guardian, have picked up on the story and sent out reporters to Pret to see what it takes to get a free beverage.
So if you believe all publicity is good publicity then that’s fine.
But what if you are a very ordinary looking customer of Pret. You go in there all the time, you give them your hard earned money, but there is nothing special or noticeable about you. So you never get a freebie.
The assumption must surely be the restaurant doesn’t ‘like’ you.
I can’t help but think Pret should be treating all customers equally – not singling some out because its staff ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ them for one or another reason.
Only time will tell whether this PR wheeze will have a positive or negative effect on Pret – or whether it will just be quietly forgotten.
Certainly its Twitter feed has been busy today fending off complaints from customers who are not ‘liked’ enough to qualify for a free drink.
And frankly it puts me off going to Pret or Prat as I am sorry to say as this organisation has shown itself to be. And I doubt I will be the only one.
Are you a Pret customer who has spent hundreds of pounds in their shops – but never been given a free coffee? Do let me know!