Is it ethical to pay for buzz?

Call me naive, but the thought of paying people to pad a lineup has never crossed my mind. I wonder how often this practice takes place in North America?
According to a report in Japan Today, McDonald’s admitted the 1,000 people were paid to join a queue for a new  Quarter Pounder debut in Osaka.  Each of the 1,000 were paid an hourly wage of 1,000 yen and also had their purchase paid for.  Reportedly, these people were hired by a human resources company at the request of a marketing company commissioned by McDonald’s Japan.

A McDonald’s Japan spokesman said: “We wanted to know how the service and product quality were on the first day. We didn’t know 1,000 people had been sent to the store.”

Did it work?

It is estimated that as many as 2,000 people were lining up outside the McDonald’s store at its peak on Tuesday, and that around 15,000 people in total visited the store during the day, setting a new record for daily sales for one of their stores.

Do you know of any other examples of this?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Alex says:

    I can not give you exact examples of this, but I will say that over my years around politics and new york marketing, paying to pad a line is very “normal” and used whenever the companies budget will permit. In small cases free food will usually work easily. In a large show in Chicago locals were given a hundred dollars to spend at the show. The ‘herd’ principle clicked in and it was a huge success. The company made it’s money back the following year when the number of vendors quadrupled.

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