Toshiba offers discount on selected laptops ranging from 10% to 100%.

The campaign is crystal clear : Send an SMS to Toshiba and you’ll get a discount for you laptop that goes for ten to a hundred percent.

Motus operandi (or MO as they say on Dexter) :

  1. Send an SMS to 61064 with “Toshiba” in it.
  2. You’ll receive an answer saying roughly : “Congratulations, your Toshiba laptop is getting a XX% rebate. Send your phone number, full name and complete address to 61064”
  3. Go buy your Toshiba laptop.
  4. Print the participation note. You’ll find it here.
  5. Postal-mail it to : JEU TOSHIBA 100% GAGNANT Cedex 2487 99248 Paris concours
  6. Get your refund 6 to 8 weeks later. (Yes, that is freaking long. I never understood why it took so long.)

Of course, I wanted to try out my luck although I don’t need another laptop. (There are already 7 computers in my house)

So I sent an SMS : “Congratulations, you are getting 10%”. So I borrowed my brother’s phone (a phone number only gets to play once) : 10%.  Then my sister’s : 10%. And 2 other phones : 10%. A bit too much for a coincidence. As a result, I decided to “investigate” on the odds of having a worthy rebate.

And actually, the answers are just a click away. On the Terms and Conditions page.
In a nutshell :

  • 4 ranks of discount
    • 1st rank : 100%. 50 winners.
    • 2nd rank : 70%. 100 winners.
    • 3rd rank : 50%. 150 winners.
    • 4th rank : 10%. All the non-winners.
  • How are the winners picked ? 300 timestamps have been randomly generated. In order to win, your SMS must be the first one to land right after a timestamp.

My thoughts : the advertising is smartly misleading. Instead of saying “We have 300 hundreds coupons for a 50% discount minimum”, Toshiba added a 10% discount so that the 99% of losers become winners. Thanks to this 10% trick, the promotion is called “100% winner” allowing Toshiba a bit of a buzz.

As a cynical marketer, this campaign is brilliant : Some lucky fews are gonna get a bargain on a brand new Toshiba laptop, everyone gets at least 10% and the word’s been spreading pretty fast on the web.
From a consumer point of view, I feel like I’ve been tricked. Had I known that the odds to get a great discount were 100:1, I wouldn’t have wasted 5 sms at 0,34€ a piece. Maybe I was my fault to believe that Toshiba could be Santa, when I know who the real Santa is : Google.

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