Can you say “Rakuten”?

Rakuten is the company that now owns Ebates, which rewards you with cash back when shopping through their company. This clever company took a grassroots approach with this commercial to spread the word, and pronunciation, of their name. I saw this commercial the other day, and was reminded of the Coca-Cola video we watched earlier in the semester. Similar to Coca-Cola, they placed an interactive machine in public that rewards you when you do what it’s asking.

Promotions like this are extremely popular, and “go viral”, because it has multiple factors that people want to share. It has a surprise and curiosity factor – 1) of a mysterious machine dropped in the middle of a public center and 2) the surprise of winning cash for pronouncing the name correctly. It also has an overall feel-good factor because it is ultimately making these people happy in a very creative way.

I thought this was a great decision by Rakuten. For one, I use Ebates for online shopping and was always curious why the word Rakuten was also displayed in my app icon on my phone. This was a great way for them to spread the word about their company and eliminate any questions as to who they are or what their name actually is. It was also a very smart choice to reward them with cash instead of something else (coupon, etc.) because that is the model of their business. Just like Coca-Cola’s promotion of giving citizens a Coke, Rakuten gave customers cash back.


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1 Response to Can you say “Rakuten”?

  1. sydhavely says:

    Clever marketing strategy and use of kiosks to spread and reward Rakuten’s name and pronunciation. I shared the same reaction you did when seeing the ad on TV, what’s Rakuten? Now I know. Well done and a great example of what makes things go viral.

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