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Build-A-Bear goes into damage control: New offers announced in the wake of “Pay Your Age” disaster

Yesterday’s Pay Your Age stunt at Build-A-Bear backfired as the brand greatly underestimated the turn out. Queues stretched for hours and stores were eventually closed due to overwhelming demand.
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Build-A-Bear’s “Pay Your Age” promotion offered children the chance to build their own teddy bears and pay their age – a one year old would only pay £1, for example, for teddies that usually range from anywhere between £10 and £21.50.

Unfortunately, far too many teddy bear enthusiasts turned out on the day, resulting in shoppers being turned away after safety concerns were raised about the large crowds, and some stores were closed.

Build-A-Bear released a statement, explaining that the high demand was not anticipated:

“Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Pay Your Age Day event generated an overwhelming response, resulting in long queues, extensive waits and disappointed Guests,” it said.

“We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began, we could not have predicted this reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event.”

In response, the brand has launched a new offer – by signing up to the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club, members who log in to their accounts before 18 July will receive a £12 voucher to spend in store. These vouchers can be used up until 31 August, and customers are encouraged to delay their visits.

In addition, a new “Count Your Candles” birthday programme has been announced, whereby children under 14 can still pay their age for a bear for a new Birthday Treat Bear during their birthday month.

Naturally, the brand has been on the receiving end of ridicule and anger from disappointed parents.

Of course, other brands aren’t letting Build-A-Bear off lightly either, and are seizing the opportunity to grab some time in the spotlight:

How much damage will the failed promotion do to the brand? It remains to be seen…but given the fact that the business is still handing out £12 vouchers – and teddies can cost more than £20, before outfits and accessories – there’s still a chance it could be raking in the cash off the back of this.

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About Author

Letitia Booty

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Real Business. She has a BA in english literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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