Monday 23 April 2018

How a Real-Time Facebook Promotion – Borne Out of Frustration – Ends Up in ‘The Oz’ Newspaper

Melbourne entrepreneur Scott Kilmartin was frustrated on Thursday last week.

The owner/operator of cool recycled products brand Haul was fired up after Westpac’s electronic payment system (including EFTPOS) went down for much of one day, leaving businesses such as Scott’s in a spot of financial bother.

Scott (or was it his ‘celebrity’ dog Gus the Boxer that came up with the idea?) quickly went into action and posted a ‘distressed’ promotion on the company’s Facebook page, following up with messages to the Twitterverse.

Here was the wording in full irreverence:


In honour of Westpac leaving us high and dry with an EFPTOS machine & online payment gateway experiencing ‘technical difficulties’ we’ve decided to have a SALE.

ALL Westpac & St George customers get %33 off EVERYTHING in our North Fitzroy store.

Methods of Payment:
CASH, rubber cheques, IOU’s scribbled on the back of beer coasters (with a note from your mum saying you’ll cough up the coin).

Raid that rainy day stash, smash that piggy bank and show Gus your ATM cards (what else are you going to do with them today) at the door.

fine print:
SALE ends whenever Westpac comes online

Fast-forward to Tuesday.

The IT section of The Australian newspaper covered the Westpac debacle and featured a pic of Scott with his ‘stern face’ on.

A lesson for marketing in today’s high velocity hyper-connected age:

When you post something on Facebook – when you tweet about it – if you’re clever enough, who knows where the story will lead?

In Haul’s case, some good publicity in a major daily national newspaper in a section that’s perfect for the brand – you see, many of Haul’s products are laptop satchels and iPad covers made from recycled advertising billboards. And who reads the IT pages?

All up – not great for Westpac, but pretty cool for Haul.


Thanks to Trevor Young, our Director of Strategy & Innovation, for this great post which was originally published on PR Warrior.

  • Scott Kilmartin

    Thanks @TrevorYoung:disqus , I’ve copied in a comment I left about what

    It was a good laugh.I realised we’d been stitched up and were in for a frustrating day of lost sales, – our online payment gateway is Westpac backed- so no web sales, as are our instore EFTPOS machines – so no big ticket store sales which are generally on card and then there’s the little matter of wages on pay day.I decided to have some fun with it whilst also showing the impact a banking outage has not only on consumers but on SME’s.We had a few punters make a beeline to the store in the morning to take up the offer and all of them along with friends of the brand on twitter / fbook / tumblr and even LinkedIn amplified the message throughout the day putting their own take on it.News Ltd called through by late morning & we quickly whipped out the old click-clack manual credit card machine (circa 1985) and took a suitably sad faced pic (…Scott, feel the merchant pain). We knew we’d hit the sweet spot when the journo asked that we not tweet about being contacted by the Oz – so as not to alert Fairfax etc to the story angle (to which I had a quick giggle about!).Away it went off into mainstream ether which gave the story more life when it was published in the Oz IT section on Tuesday & did the social media rounds again.At haul we’ve got a planned strategy around social media and much stuff we schedule and timeline into the future. When opportunities like this pop up out of nowhere I’m a big believer in running with it in the moment to capture interest and ride the momentum. Humour and being a bit cheeky is often the best tone around these type of happenings and a little trouble making is a good fit for the haul brand.We did a similar thing at the last Federal Election where on the morning of, on a whim we printed & put up some posters nominating Gus the Boxer as a candidate at the pooling booth down from the haul store in Nth Fitzroy. (check it out @ next time…Cheers@ScottKilmartin:twitter @haul:twitter

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