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Get $5 For Waiting More Than 5 Minutes

written by John Chow on March 28, 2010

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A long time ago, my bank, TD Canada Trust, ran a promotion to show that they had the lowest wait time among all the Canadian banks. They, or their ad agency, decided that it would be a cool idea to give customers five dollars if they had to wait in line for more than five minutes.

The promotion was designed to accomplish two things. The first was to inspire the staff to improve their productivity. The second was to show bank customers how confidence TD was in their fast customer service. If the customer waited in line for less than five minutes, they are happy for the fast service. If they waited in line for more than five minutes, they get 5 bucks and they are happy again. What can possibly go wrong?

There was no one at the bank to time how long a customer waited in line for. The promotion was on the honor system. If you waited for more than five minutes, you just have to tell the teller and she will give you five dollars. This guarantee even extended to the ATM machine. Just go to the customer service desk, tell the lady you waited more than five minutes for the ATM and she will give you five bucks. You did not need to claim your five smackers on the same day either. You can walk into the bank the following day (or week), tell them the last time you were there, you had to wait more than five minutes for the ATM and they will give you five dollars. If you tell them that during the week, you waited more than five minutes, five times, they will give you $25.00. What can possibly go wrong?

The bank had set aside an amount they felt would be given away over a six month period, which was how long the promotion was to last. If it did well, then the $5 guarantee would become part of the bank’s branding. The six months worth of five-dollar bills lasted barely three weeks. The next day TD cancelled the promotion and fired the ad agency.

During the time the promotion was running, I made $50. Hey! I really did wait for more than five minutes! Honest! :)

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Lose fat fast March 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Looll you must be kidding me!! Did you really go and claim the $5 ?

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 31, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Yep John can do that … John simply love free stuff and free money.

Remember in his recent video of mobile tools he claimed hat he is going to use their coffee machine for the whole day.

Remember that free beer coupon episode …

So there are many example that John simply love free things and he shared that moment with us honestly.

40% OFF Offer April 4, 2010 at 3:58 am

You got sharp memory.

I think you should add links as well of those videos.

Danny @ March 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Haha so John you really went and claimed the $5 every time you waited more then 5 mins?

David March 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Or… almost 5 mins…lol its John ;)

Jeremy March 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Hahaha – This is awesome. It actually gets me thinking about promotional ideas for my blog!

Danny @ March 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hehe yea Jeremy you could get someone to write you a script that will automatically send $5 via paypal to anyone who click the give me $5 please button :)

Link your paypal account to a visa credit card with a ton of credit and you’re set for success the amount of traffic you’d get would be amazing!

iWoodpecker March 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm

The principle of this idea is pretty much interesting..

But I’d make it another way..

If you wait in line more than 5 minutes, you are allowed to complain about that certain personnel. If some of the personnel gets 5 complaints… for example, per day.. then he’s fired.

I think this way could be much more acceptable for both clients and the bank administration/ad agency.

Danny @ March 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Hehe yea right, if it were mc donalds yes (that’s what they actually do lol), they’ll just get someone to replace him/her the next day. But a bank well… an employee might cost the bank a little bit more than the $50 John claimed to train. :P

iWoodpecker March 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

But it also could become a real engine for new system of that certain bank. A little bit cruel, but fair..

And well.. do you expect the same amount of people (who demanded their 5$ for waiting more than 5 mins) to complain about the personnel? I don’t think so.. But still – it would become some fantastic promotional strategy.

Samuel March 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Lol bad guy chow haha well if i were d one mehn..i will make sure i earn up to $100 b4 i quit lol

James March 28, 2010 at 8:05 pm

LOL i wonder which company thought of the Idea.

Also heres a tip Avoid month ends at banks lots of people paying bills. :@

Danny @ March 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Another great way to avoid the queues. Just use the alternate business channels, you know ATMs, internet banking… There’s very little you can’t do bank wise that way.

Diabetis March 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm

How would they know if you are telling the truth?

d3so March 28, 2010 at 10:24 pm

John stated it was based on the good ol’ honor system. March 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm

It’s a great marketing campaign for that bank and I bet you they got a lot of new accounts and foot traffic during that promotion. Great marketing on their part!

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 31, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Seems to me that you did not read full post.

Here is the conclusion of this post –

“The six months worth of five-dollar bills lasted barely three weeks. The next day TD cancelled the promotion and fired the ad agency.”

40% OFF Offer April 4, 2010 at 4:00 am

How did you make this bold.

Oh ok got it.

Proson March 28, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Wow don’t know why I submitted a comment when I didn’t write anything. Sorry John. Well if the campaign was so successful, the bank would not fire the ad or marketing agency.

Or just because the bank didn’t do their jobs to get their services as fast as possible…

But it still gives me some creative mind on how to create a marketing campaign!

knightblogger March 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm

so..others? do you get that 5 dollar?

40% OFF Offer April 4, 2010 at 4:01 am

Yes he did, he accepted that he made $50.00 not only $5.00

Mathew Day March 28, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Lol, great story. That was kinda risky for a company to rely on the “honor system” in this day and time for FREE Money. Obviously it didn’t workout.

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog April 19, 2010 at 7:57 am

Every one wants to have free money mate.

Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog March 29, 2010 at 12:53 am

Hem… $50 as total is not bad. :)

Net Age | Web Design March 29, 2010 at 1:03 am

I like the fact that the bank got their come-uppance in a great way here! I detest waiting in their long lines and having to pay their exorbitant service fees and bank charges at the same time. Simply to access my money…grrrrr.

Dev | Technshare March 29, 2010 at 4:06 am

i wonder which company thought of the Idea.

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog April 19, 2010 at 7:59 am

Not disclosed here :D

wiseinvestor March 29, 2010 at 7:34 am

That is a creative idea but I understand why the ad agency get fired by the bank.

taiwan girl March 29, 2010 at 9:48 am

john rocks !

you should have let us know earlier so all your readers can join the line ;)

iWoodpecker March 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm

That would definitely look fantastic :D

Danny @ March 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Nah he tends to do that sometimes all John cares about is getting his $50 :)

Scott@ Forex Robot March 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

That’s a very interesting marketing tactic. It would have been better if they didn’t do it on an honor system though :)

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 31, 2010 at 11:17 pm

You mean they have to carry some proof of waiting …

That will be tough job and onus of proof will lye on bank itself.

scheng1 April 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Actually it’s very easy to monitor. Just put a queue ticket machine near to the entrance. Customers can get a queue number, and the time is recorded below. Even then, 5 minutes of waiting during peak hours is an impossible task for the bank to achieve.

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog April 19, 2010 at 8:04 am

And what about the salary of such people who will issue such ticket.

Entrepreneur Key - Your Key To Success March 31, 2010 at 2:07 pm

5 minutes for 5 dollars is good for me!!

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 31, 2010 at 11:19 pm

But unfortunately this ad campaign is no more active.

rososusilo April 1, 2010 at 12:27 am

A good suggestion, you say as if it would be easy to get $ 5

Free Picks April 1, 2010 at 6:53 am

is this offer still available?

40% OFF Offer April 4, 2010 at 4:03 am

Why, you are going to enjoy this.

Read full post my dear friend.

WebpageLottery April 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Haha, this reminds me when McDonald was once had a not more than 60 seconds wait for drive thru otherwise the food is free.

scheng1 April 9, 2010 at 8:04 pm

At least McDonald can monitor the waiting time. 60 seconds is too short, and I bet McDonald gives away many free meals during peak period.

scheng1 April 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Actually it is a good marketing strategy. The problem is in the monitoring. If they can control by giving out a queue number, they can monitor how long the customers wait in the queue. Too bad the management is too trusting.