Sainsbury’s Christmas drinks voucher fiasco has led the firm to warn viral marketers to be on their guard against ‘wily characters’.

A spokesman for the firm told the Daily Telegraph that its e-voucher discount inadvertently led to discounts of up to 75 per cent off alcohol, leading to massive demand.

“Once one wily character does something like this it tends to blow out of all proportion,” they said.

“That is the nature of viral marketing.”

Robert Dirkovski, the head of interactive media at the Direct Marketing Agency, added: “In one way it shows the ingenuity of people to use the internet to save money.

“Each time something like this happens, big business learns something about consumer power.”

Unlike Thresher, which honoured its 40 per cent discount vouchers which were spread without its permission, Sainsbury’s stopped taking them within 48 hours, saying that the offer had been abused.

Yet experts told the BBC that this could backfire and lose any goodwill the unexpected festive cheer the offer had brought.ADNFCR-8000151-ID-18021383-ADNFCR

Related Topics: General Marketing