Last Friday TD Bank in Canada may have earned itself the title of the best bank in the world, after turning its ATMs into Automated Thanking Machines. Everyone using the machines at four branches in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver was given $20 dollars to thank them for banking with the brand (from a talking ATM), and some customers got even more lavish gifts.
Many of the people who got bigger presents were regular customers who staff had got to know and felt would really appreciate them. A bank spokesperson told Buzzfeed: "Some had been through tough times and some are just wonderfully kind and caring people'. They were asked to come in to test the machines - at which point they received their gift.
According to Mashable, one received flowers, one was a huge Blue Jays fan and got a personalised T-Shirt and cap - as well as a surprise visit from one of the players - and a chance to throw out the first pitch at a Blue Jays game.
Another got tickets to Trinidad so she could visit her daughter who was suffering from cancer and had just been through an operation. And one mother of two young boys got two $1,000 cheques for her sons' education - in recognition of the fact that the kids were unlikely to be impressed with the money at this stage they also gave her tickets to Disneyland. A video of the surprises has had more than 3.2 million views so far.
It's one of a number of tear-jerking marketing stunts that have gone viral. At Christmas, WestJet issued a video of a stunt which involved a virtual Santa asking travellers on two flights what they wanted for Christmas while they waited in the lounge to board.
Then while they were in the air, shoppers at their destinations shopped for the gifts and wrapped them, so when they waited at the luggage carousel the gifts they had asked for appeared. The company delivered everything from a pair of socks to toy train for a toddler and a big TV for his parents. The video has been viewed over 36 million times.
Last year Dove scored a similar success with a Real Beauty sketches stunt, which asked women to describe themselves while an artist (who couldn't see them) sketched what he thought they looked like. Then he sketched them as they were described by a stranger. Then each woman compared the portraits and realised how they were underestimating themselves. The video was viewed over 60 million times.
But what do you think? Are these a good idea? Does it make you more likely to use a brand? Let us know in the comments.
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