Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where’s my free shot of Tequila?

As faithful Loyalty Redefined readers know, my recreational drink of choice is beer. But every once in a while, my wife and I will entertain friends over a pitcher of Margaritas on the rocks. (Salt, please.)

Many years ago a friend who knows about these things told me the best tequila for the money was Sauza Gold. Looks and tastes just like Jose Cuervo Gold—my friend says better—for a couple of bucks cheaper.

So a few weeks ago, with my supply of Sauza Gold running low, I picked up a bottle at my friendly neighborhood liquor store. Hanging from the bottle’s neck was a promo tag pitching a $2.50 refund if I filled out the form and mailed in my receipt.

Now for me, a $2.50 rebate is right at the threshold of “is this really worth my time and a 40 cent stamp?”, but I eventually mailed it in. I figured the $2.50 minus postage was the equivalent of a healthy tequila shot—so why not take Sauza up on their generous offer of a free drink?

Only I didn’t get a rebate check. Just a postcard letting me know I wouldn’t be getting a rebate because I used a PO Box as my home address—which I have to do, as my quaint little town has no home mail delivery.

The postcard listed a rewards Web site where I could check on my refund, but after entering my name and address into an online form, I got a message back saying they couldn’t identify me. I looked for another way to contact them—but there was none.

Next stop: the Sauza Web site, where there are some nice drink recipes—but again, no link or mention of how to contact anyone at the company. Unless I want to “friend” Sauza at Facebook, which is an additional step I didn’t want to take.

So here lies my conundrum: My relationship with Sauza has always been a simple one. I give them $20 and change, they give me a quality bottle of tequila in return. I would have been happy continuing this relationship for years to come.

Only, they just blew it. Through a promotional campaign that obviously had some bugs in the execution, they found a way to offer me bad customer service—when customer service didn’t even have to be part of the equation.

Suaza: as far as I’m concerned, you shouldn’t have run this promo in the first place, because the bottle of Jose Cuervo Gold sitting next to you on the shelf suddenly got more appealing. But there’s still time for you to make amends.

Like all good companies these days, you should have an ear to the social networking ground listening for chatter about your brand. Sauza, are you listening?

This post is by Tom Rapsas and originally appeared on the blog Loyalty Truth, September 24, 2010. You can reach Tom at

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