Build-A-Bear had to issue an urgent alert due to a high volume of customers showing up for "Pay Your Age Day", a special promotion that was for today only.
The event had been promoted on social media and had a massive turn out that the company was not expecting. Local authorities said that crowds were getting out of control and had become a danger to the stuffed animal factory.
The event was going to allow customers to buy a bear, or other stuffed creature, for only the price of your age, meaning a five-year-old would get an animal for only $5.00.
The company issued a statement that said, “Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns. We have closed lines in our U.S. and Canada stores. We understand some guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.”
A glimpse of the Pay Your Age promotion pandemonium at the Oshawa Centre before Build-A-Bear closed lines for its US & Canada stores. https://t.co/B6WXYwqGoL— Jasmine Pazzano (@jpazzano) July 12, 2018
Photo credit: Amanda Campbell pic.twitter.com/j64tlb3lZg
Of course, fans of the store who decided to participate in today's event are not happy about it. People had been lining up for hours to get a good deal on what is normally a costly kids product.
Parents and tots spent an awfully long time in line for the 'pay your age' Build-A-Bear promo in Dartmouth today. In some parts of Canada, the store had to shut down due to security concerns. pic.twitter.com/Y73JQ4qDqh— CBC Nova Scotia (@CBCNS) July 12, 2018
Many Twitter users expressed their disappointment but also focused on the fact that the company underestimated their social media campaign. Build-A-Bear Workshop didn't think about how many people would show up for an opportunity like this.
Events of this proportion should be held over multiple days, as opposed to all at once, so these dangerous situations never happen.
Today was a good example of why understanding marketing and consumer demand is important. Build A Bear under-valued the "Pay your Age" deal would have made more sense to have a longer promotion window than 1 day. All stores in the UK, US and Canada had to close for safety reasons— Nick Picard (@prof_picard) July 12, 2018
The entire Build A Bear marketing team bout dumb as hell. How could they not think the turnout for a “pay your age” special wouldn’t be massive?— Kennedy ✨ (@HelloKennedi) July 12, 2018
This isn’t a PR nightmare for Build A Bear. This was a poorly executed marketing tactic to get attract people who’ve never purchased a bear into its store.— A. Wise (@Anamenobodygot) July 12, 2018
The folks who spend $60 on a regular day will return the next time their child wants one.
While we're sure that some people are feeling unbearable after waiting in lines for hours, we just hope Build-A-Bear fixes this marketing mess and learns the power of social media.