Several Eleme users were scratching their heads this morning shortly after securing a bite to eat on the Chinese food delivery app. Immediately after placing their orders, users received SMS notifications stating that their meal would be completely free of charge, followed by “That’s all. Just hope you’re happy”.
Jaws dropped incredulously as they found their total amount transferred back to their balance, which reportedly ranged from ten to over hundreds of RMB. Some were even lucky enough to snag two free meals in a row.
Up until that point, the food delivery giant had not made any public announcement concerning the food freebies all morning which subsequently sparked an online frenzy that erupted on Chinese social media. Suspicious, some netizens initially speculated that the platform had been experiencing a widespread system error, while others suggested that it was perhaps a promotional event where customers who met certain conditions would be granted free grub.
As the day went on, hashtags on Weibo like “A large number of users received a free order from Eleme” reached a staggering 150 million views. Meanwhile, another hashtag entitled “Thank you Eleme” surpassed 64 million views and 24,000 forum discussions, where lucky users gleefully shared their 1-minute freebies.
Eventually, the food delivery giant made a post on their public Weibo account in which they revealed that the event was indeed a planned promotional event, laying out the ground rules for all who wish to participate. From June 21 to 30, there will be freebies given out every hour at random times. If users are able to correctly guess the exact hour and minute of the freebie special, they will qualify for a free meal up to 200 RMB ($29.90).
Ultimately, Eleme has managed to spice things up with a playful promotional event turned marketing tactic that not only is spreading like wildfire but is also bolstering brand loyalty.