6 Dec 2020

Fake cash drop marketers should apologise - professor

8:05 pm on 6 December 2020

The Safety Warehouse is defending its controversial $100,000 cash-drop amid criticism it may have misled event-goers.

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The fake money vouchers dropped at The Safety Warehouse event. Photo: Twitter / screenshot

The Safety Warehouse is defending its controversial $100,000 cash-drop amid criticism it may have misled event-goers.

The online store, which sells protective wear, ran an event in Auckland yesterday at which it had advertised that $100,000 in cash would be given away in a "live cash giveaway", with the promise that "ACTUAL MONEY will be flying from the sky".

Videos show a crowd of people angrily surrounding a car branded with The Safety Warehouse logos, shouting and throwing things after realising the banknotes were fake, and merely bore Safety Warehouse discount offers resembling five dollar notes.

In a statement, the company said it did drop real funds, and the vouchers were additional.

It said the company did not intend to deprive, mislead or embarrass anyone and it stood by its marketing and what was issued during the drop.

A marketing professor has advised The Safety Warehouse to apologise and hire a good public relations company.

Consumer chief executive Jon Duffy said whether there were Fair Trading Act breaches depended on the event's advertising.

"Depending on how off the mark that original advertising was, there could be a potential to take claims under the Fair Trading Act."

Massey University's Malcolm Wright said the company should apologise, and it should hire a good PR company as it has work to do to help salvage its reputation.

He said the stunt had breached customers' trust.

"I don't think they would have been setting out to deceive, of course they wouldn't have been setting out to deceive. Somebody just oversold it and went a bit far.

"So mistakes do happen, and they absolutely need to put it right."

Wright said it's likely someone behind the scenes went a bit far with the advertising for the event.

"It's common in promotional activities to engage in a bit of puffery, and of course what they're trying to say is that it's worth actual money to you because there's a discount that saves you money.

"But probably the only people that would equate that logic with ready cash is would-be economists."

The company has taken down its Facebook page.

Some of the event advertising for the cash drop, promoted by the Safety Warehouse.

Photo: Supplied/LinkedIn

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