Genius? Or Devious?

Toy stores in USA hit upon this method to boost sales after the peak of Christmas season. Read on and decide if it was a stroke of genius or downright deviousness.

Imagine this. You have exhausted the toy budget for your little son at the Festive Season. Naturally, you are pretty smug that you won’t need to make another trip to the toy store anytime soon.

This is the challenge that toy stores in USA were grappling with – a sudden slump in sales post Christmas. Their solution: They advertised the hell out of a new toy and got kids crazy for it. Parents ended up promising the kids that they will get that particular toy for them. But when they reached the store, they are told that the toy has sold out. Out of sheer guilt, they buy something of same value or perhaps even more. The kid is happy… for now.

A few weeks later comes another ad that the toy is now back in stores. The kid sees the ad and pesters the parent – “you promised”, “you promised”. The parent, not wanting to seem like a person who don’t keep their commitments trudge back to the toy store to buy the toy, instantly doubling the store’s turnover per customer.

The tactic not only leverages the strategy of artificially created shortages, but also exploit the human psychology of keeping promises (especially to loved ones).

Genius? Or Devious? What do you think?