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Twitterverse goes wild over Tesco’s offer of a free lunch

The move is a big lesson in Twitter Marketing 101

By Ricky Browne

Between the discovery of an effective Covid-19 vaccine, the drama over the US election, and Britain on the verge of having no trade deal with Europe, there is a lot of news at the moment — but none so big that people won’t drop everything at the prospect of getting a free lunch from Tesco.

One of the main topics trending on Twitter in the UK today is #TescoMealDeal, where the supermarket chain is offering a free meal to anyone who retweets a particular tweet. But there are conditions.

“Quote tweet this tweet and get 0 likes, 0 RT’s and 0 comments by 1pm tomorrow, winner gets a free #TescoMealDeal on us!” reads the tweet from Tesco, originally posted yesterday.

Free meal deal anyone?

So the race is on for people to try and win a meal deal. And in it is a lesson on how to effectively use social media to market your brand and product at minimal cost.

A meal deal is normally a sandwich with a choice of drink and a snack such as a pack of crisps costing about £3. The offer is a great deal for people taking a quick lunch break from the office — or at least it was when people still worked in offices in the before-Covid times.

The Twitterverse went mad at the prospect of a free lunch. At 1:00 pm there were more than 130,000 retweets of the Tesco tweet — plus one, if you should add this writer to the bunch.

Some people have ranked their chances of winning pretty high.

“The joke is on you Tesco. I have 3 followers who don’t know me. I can taste victory.” tweeted tomfoolery91.

But with three comments and 90 likes a few minutes later his chances were shot.

A Tesco supermarket

Vanilla-Phill, clearly following up on a previous conversation, tweeted to tomfoolery-91: “Now do you get how hashtags work?”

“Touché,” responded a crestfallen tomfoolery91.

But he was not the only victim to lose his lunch over this. In a spirit of camaraderie some people are going out of their way to grinch up people’s prospects, hunting down the Tesco retweets and liking the heck out of them.

“My new hobby is ruining people’s chances on the #TescoMealDeal challenge, it’s hilarious,” tweeted rowan // annus. That tweet was liked 260 times.

To combat this, others are craftily opening up completely new accounts, to increase their chances of winning. HuMan bEing was one such person.

What could possibly go wrong?

“I MADE A BRAND NEW TWITTER ACC JUST FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” said a relatively smug HuMan bEing. Hours later he had 189 likes, three retweets and three comments. Like Wile E Coyote, his foolproof plan to catching a delicious meal had collapsed at his feet.

“Lol aaaand you lost. Hope you enjoyed Twitter!” responded MattyRasker in one of the gleeful comments.

Not even begging to people’s better instincts could help.

“Please don’t interact with this tweet, i never get free meal in my life once, let me get one please!” tweeted balabalami, with an emoji of praying hands to garner more sympathy.

“I just want to say this is great pr for Tesco,” noted Samuel@RealXwisdom in a comment, one of several.

Tesco’s lesson in Twitter Marketing 101

Balabalami got 178 likes and two retweets for her trouble. But no free lunch. There was one comment though which may have given her another chance.

“Hey retweet again and hopefully no one will interact with it I’ve just done this myself because ppl kept on liking my tweets good luck!” tweeted NC@Punjabsfinest94.

So maybe she’ll have a chance.

Others smelled a conspiracy.

“Is it someone from Tesco who is liking and commenting on all the tweets in this hastag? ” asked Osama Mohammed.

Another tweet from him showed a greater degree of dissatisfaction.

“I got only one c***on my first tweet, let’s see how many will be in this one” he tweeted. Profanity or not, he got 30 likes and one retweet.

The philosophy of not giving likes to help out humanity didn’t seem to click either.

“Everyone could of been a winner but people are so greedy and selfish, going around and purposely liking peoples tweets. Tesco never said there was one winner. Thanks Tesco, it teaches us about people doesn’t it. What an awful world we live in,” said CosmicAngel@Born2Suffer.

He got 104 likes for his observation, along with 12 retweets and 18 comments.

Nor did people seem to mind having their sexuality challenged.

“Interact with this tweet if your gay. That’s it,” tweeted sam@sam61849522.

He got 346 likes.

But conspiracy theories notwithstanding, some other people had nothing but good to say about Tesco and its policy towards customers.

One such person jumped at the chance to show how Tesco behaved five years earlier to a complaint he had.

“I waited 5 years for this moment when #TescoMealDeal is trending: this is what happened when you emailed Tesco about a little discovery in your salad. Best customer service ever”, tweeted Dingdingading, attaching a photo.

As an apology, Tesco sent Dingdingading a note and a book. The note read: ” Dear Mr Yuchun, I hope you and your son will enjoy this book more than my picture. :)”

By the end of all this it looks like Tesco will have run one of its most effective marketing campaigns ever, quite likely at zero cost, as it seems no one will be getting one over on this Road Runner.

But your chances of getting a free meal are now over, regrettably.

“The competition is now closed, thanks so much for taking part in the #TescoMealDeal challenge. Please do not DM us about this or reach out, we will be in touch with all winners over the next 24 hours,” Tesco tweeted after the 1:00 pm lock off time.

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