Family movie night in our house is Friday, but we may make it Thursday this week -- if I'm willing to shamelessly give up one of my precious Facebook "likes" to Redbox.
And you can do it yourself -- "like" the Redbox Facebook page -- to get a special promotional code good for a free movie one day only, today, May 12, 2011.
While this isn't exactly a screaming deal -- rentals are $1 for DVDs and you only get a dollar off if you rent a Blu-ray Disk ($1.50) or video game ($2) -- it could give you the opportunity you've been looking for to try the service, though, as usual, you'll have to return the movie by 9 p.m. local time (the local time of your Redbox kiosk). These kiosks can be found at McDonald's restaurants, 7-Eleven convenience stores, Wal-Marts, and many other grocery and convenience store chains. And if you don't bring the movie back on time, you'll have to pay for it.
For a one-dollar offer, however, the terms and conditions are rather...immense.Whenever I see a deal that seems rather slim compared to its promotion -- for instance, free coffee for volunteers on September 11 or some similarly low-cost, high-gloss marketing concept -- I have to wonder whether the deal is more costly for consumers than for companies. This one, in particular, could be so-low cost as to be negligible; other than the programming and PR costs, there are no incremental costs for Redbox. And Thursday is likely a slow night for the big red boxes.
And so, when I first saw this deal, I was reminded of a mention I heard a few nights ago on NPR's Marketplace of the value of a Facebook fan: Just how much is your "like" worth? It's a lot more than a dollar (and you could theorize that the real cost to Redbox is even less than a dollar -- maybe a quarter per freebie).
According to a report released last year by Syncapse, the average Facebook like is worth $136.38, when you compare how much fans spent on a company's products, vs. the expenditures of non-fans, although, as GigaOm points out, this analysis is most useful when applied to very big, popular brands that are likely to be recommended to friends.
It's probable you won't be selling your soul in return for liking Redbox and getting a free movie. It's also probable you'll be induced to spend future cash with the DVD-on-demand company if you do like them, and the new movies and great deals will become more top-of-mind for you.
But it's a useful time to think about the true value of your social media friendliness and whether or not you're willing to give it up so cheaply.
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