I’ve been lucky enough to be able to win some stuff on twitter lately, and/or to to be able to try some stuff for free through this blog.
Free blog stuff generally has a ‘cost’ – the writing of a review.
On twitter, the receipt of ‘stuff’ normally involves re-tweeting something someone wrote, or sending an email, or following a certain account to be considered an entry in a contest. So I’ve got tickets, gift cards, CDs, all sorts of fun stuff — much of it I have passed on to other people.
About 10 days ago, I learned of a new corporate twitter account set up for @TassimoCanada, through someone I follow. Or actually several people I follow since everyone was curious how this first person ended up a with a free coffee maker.
The account said to send a direct message (like a twitter email) to be considered for receiving a machine. And that you must have ‘loads of [twitter] followers’.
Next, the account said you had to have more than 500 followers to be considered.
Well, I thought, that’s rather confusing. The little angel that sits on my shoulder thought that contests should be fair, that rules shouldn’t be made up arbitrarily, PLUS you can only direct message between you and someone who is following you. Which I pointed out. And, what’s the catch here? Am I selling my soul to a coffee machine maker? Am I going to have to tweet about it all day? Do I even need a coffee machine? I already have one.
The little devil that sits on my other should was kicking me in the head going DUDE FREE COFFEE MACHINE. CONTEST FOR CANADIANS, THAT NEVER HAPPENS! FREE APPLIANCE. WORTH LOTS OF MONEY. GET ONE! GET ONE!
I showed interest in receiving a coffee machine. But, I also read my computer screen with a furrowed brow. And felt simultaneously disgusted and empathetic at people literally BEGGING for Tassimo machines but not really getting a clear response.
Suddenly I had an email in my inbox offering me a machine. And an explanation of how the twitter selection process was working.
We used a Social Media research tool called Radian6, to identify the top 300 most active Social Media enthusiasts in Canada discussing coffee and relevant social activities.That was our starting point, and the goal was to give 300 machines for a simple reason, we believe that our “Product is our best Ad”. So we wanted to put in the hands of those people to experience it, and IF they like it, share their experience.
My first thought was (a) so companies are now analyzing twitter for where users are and what they are talking about, not really surprising and (b) what about all the people who still say they are in Tehran?
Back to ME. I’m feeling weird. I just complained about a contest and now I’m being offered a machine. But, I did ask for one. And I’ve got that damn devil literally kicking me in the head saying YOU WANT FREE STUFF, GREEDY PANTS.
So I accept the offer. And I’m feeling like a cool kid of the internet. This doesn’t happen often. I have, like, 10 readers.
While I’m waiting for my machine, people are still begging for them. BEGGING. I begin to hate to see the word Tassimo in my twitter stream. I begin to consider unfollowing people that I normally quite like to follow.
Last week, the machine arrived. My husband was excited and opened the box before I got home. He called me to say just how generous the company had been with samples of their coffee T-discs.
I came home from work, and set up the machine.
It’s wondeful how much coffee and tea they sent . But. I can’t believe how much packaging there is. There’s boxes of T-discs in foil wrappers. The discs themselves are plastic and foil. There’s water filters wrapped in plastic. There’s none of this stuff if I just make a pot of coffee. Or even froth some hot milk.
I try a chai latte. It’s okay. Too sweet, actually. I wouldn’t add sugar if I made it or bought it myself. Oh look, sugar in the package ingredients. And some weird other chemical sounding things.
The next day I try a regular latte. It’s not really good. And not really latte like. And hey look more weird ingredients. I guess that’s what you get when you can store milk discs on the shelf.
I look into the price of the replacement T-discs. They run around $5-$10 for 10-16 cups of coffee. WHAT?! If you are like me and not buying coffee at Starbucks everyday, that is insanely expensive.
I can spend up to $15 on a package of coffee, from run of the mill boring stuff to exceptionally good fair trade stuff and still come up WAY WAY less than that in cost. That package or tin of coffee can make so many more cups of coffee than one Tassimo package. And of course to make my own coffee means I am controlling what’s in it. Everyday, I take a large flask of coffee to work that probably costs me about 50 cents to make. Maybe less. That includes flask, mug, coffee, cream and sugar.
If I want a specialty coffee, which I don’t have that often, the Second Cup makes a great latte. Greater than the one I made, for sure.
- Weird contest that wasn’t really a contest
- Too much packaging
- Strange ingredients
- Expensive coffee
- Doesn’t taste that great
Sorry, you’re out. I decided I needed to give this machine to someone else. Someone who will appreciate it. Luckily I have a good real life friend who also asked @TassimoCanada for a machine. I hope that in her situation, they will get way more use out of it.
I saw Tassimo t-discs at the grocery store the other night and they made me scowl. I follow someone else who said this today, and I totally grinned.
For me, this PR exercise has been sort of a disaster. But I’m just me. On a larger scale, this is an interesting experiment that has probably worked. I mean, the fact that people are talking about Tassimo so much that other people want to block them means they are getting word of mouth. And it sounds like other people like the coffee/tea. Good. Just not me.
This isn’t about the Tassimo machine. It’s about me. The lesson for me is to kick that devil back in the head. Greed is not good. Free stuff ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
(One day I will learn. I am probably not ready yet. I am still a greedy bugger.)