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illinois advertising reddit olive garden house fire

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#1 Hum

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 13:40

It was meant to be a heartwarming story, proof that there are still plenty of good people in this world. But, instead of chiming in with inspirational examples of their own, Reddit users started picking it apart.

"My brother, wife, 3-year-old daughter and I went to Olive Garden after a recent house fire at my parents," Reddit user Tanek42 wrote on Tuesday. "When the manager asked how everything was, my daughter said, 'Grandpa's house burned down.' Here's how we received the check." He included a picture of the check, with every item comped and a total balance due of $0.00.

While a few people responded with kudos for the restaurant's manager, most were skeptical about Tanek42's story.

"Why does it say "Duplicate Receipt - Stored Order" at the bottom? Is this an indication that this is a copy of the receipt, and it may be the manager posting this?" asked one user. Others pointed out that the Olive Garden logo was a little too perfectly placed, and wondered about the restaurant's ulterior motives.

"I used to manage another national chain and would frequently comp meals for people for no other reason than to promote goodwill," wrote "lukaro." "We were actually encouraged to do so."

As people tried to puzzle it out, one Reddit user offered up a theory.

"OP [original poster] probably works for a company called Grey Worldwide, which is OG's advertising agency. Someone probably thought this idea up last week and they did some data analysis to see the perfect time to get upvotes—and had a bunch of Grey employees upvote as well," wrote "iworkinadvertising," who called himself (or herself) a journalist who covers advertising. "This is basically free advertising. It screws Redditors over by blurring the line between what's real and what's advertising, and it screws Reddit over by circumventing them for free advertising."

The image—and the outrage—quickly went viral, prompting Olive Garden's parent company, Darden, to defend itself and its customers.

"The receipt is real and was posted by the guests, not by anyone at Olive Garden or Darden," Tara Gray said, media and communication manager for Darden.

"We are always looking for ways to surprise and delight our guests, and this was one of the ways the Olive Garden team in Vernon Hills, Ill., did that last weekend."

Darden's marketing firm, Grey Worldwide, also denied they played a part in the posting.

"Grey had absolutely nothing to do with post concerning Olive Garden," a representative told Consumerist. "It would be against our code of conduct."

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#2 Nick H.

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 14:14

So when the customer reports that they got a free meal it's ok, but when the company says that they gave a free meal it's not ok? I mean, the family still got a free meal for their unfortunate circumstances, I don't mind who informed me about it either way.

(Yes, I get the advertising aspect, but a free meal is a free meal, no?)

#3 Richteralan

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 16:10

from reddit?

why I'm not surprised.

#4 ShareShiz

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 16:25

Yeah. Free advertising.

#5 Growled

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:07

People on the internet get weirder every day. Instead of finding solutions, they invent problems.

#6 OP Hum

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 21:23

^ There really are no problems -- only solutions. ;)

#7 remixedcat

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 21:41

they think everyone's evil.

#8 Stoffel

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 21:43

I find it very sad that everything has to get a bad spin on it lately, seems like it is a 1st world problem though.
You see the same here on Neowin. There is always somebody trying to spin anything in a negative way.
I feel sorry for these people. Life can be so much nicer if you have a positive view.

#9 remixedcat

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 21:46

I think everyone needs to try to find the good in places and people that you never thought possible... I have and it's worked wonders for me.

#10 Yogurtmaster

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 22:22

"The biggest problem with humanity, is humanity itself."

#11 OP Hum

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 23:44

I find it very sad that everything has to get a bad spin on it lately, seems like it is a 1st world problem though.
You see the same here on Neowin. There is always somebody trying to spin anything in a negative way.
I feel sorry for these people. Life can be so much nicer if you have a positive view.


Ah, someone is learning. :happy:

#12 compl3x

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 00:02

^ There really are no problems -- only solutions. ;)


What? Are you trying to be profound?


So when the customer reports that they got a free meal it's ok, but when the company says that they gave a free meal it's not ok? I mean, the family still got a free meal for their unfortunate circumstances, I don't mind who informed me about it either way.

(Yes, I get the advertising aspect, but a free meal is a free meal, no?)



I think you may be missing the point & misunderstanding the story. If a company or their advertisers/marketers invent a story about the goodwill of the company that never happened vs. a real customer sharing an actual story, it absolutely matters. I obviously can't comment on this story because I have no way of verifying it. I generally believe very little of what I read, especially on sites like reddit.

Perhaps it is sad people are generally cynical, but that is life.

#13 Growled

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 01:18

^ There really are no problems -- only solutions. ;)


Wait until you meet me in person. You'll change your mind then. :D

#14 Nick H.

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:09

I think you may be missing the point & misunderstanding the story. If a company or their advertisers/marketers invent a story about the goodwill of the company that never happened vs. a real customer sharing an actual story, it absolutely matters.


I can appreciate your stance, but there is nothing in the story that makes me think, "wow, this didn't happen." The whole fuss is over the fact that the company publicised the free meal instead of the customer, which is just silly.

#15 tiagosilva29

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:41

The whole fuss is over the fact that the company publicised the free meal instead of the customer, which is just silly.

Sigh. The problem is that some people don't seem to understand the meaning of selflessness.
  • Just giving someone a free meal after a personal tragedy is being selfless. You are only concerned about that person, you have no personal interest on this. If someone talks about this, you're like "Okay".
  • Giving someone a free meal after a personal tragedy while paying to an agent to shout "LOOK HOW SELFLESS THIS COMPANY IS!" and broadcast these events everywhere is not selfless. You may or not be concerned about that person, but you are not altruist/selfless because you have invested on gaining a personal interest on this.




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