Unethical! Free Brown Cow Yogurt Coupon if You Write Product Review

And this is an example of why I don’t trust “little” food companies owned by “BIG” food companies!

I just received an email from Brown Cow (lately they’ve been promoting the heck out of their new Greek yogurts) and was surprised that their new marketing scheme is bribing their customers to write good reviews for them!

Dear Brown Cow fans,

We’re so excited about our new Cream Top Greek yogurt, we want to share it with the world – and we need your help.

First, we’ll be hosting free sampling events at virtually every Whole Foods Market in the country beginning this Saturday, August 18th, as well as most California Safeways. And we’ll keep them going later this fall at other natural foods stores – so keep your eyes peeled.

Second, we created a place for you to share your thoughts about our new Cream Top Greek with the world- and when you do, we’ll send you a coupon for a free cup.

Get your free cup at www.browncowlove.com. Write a quick review, share it, and get a coupon for an absolutely free cup (limit: first 2,500 people to enter). You can also enter to win free Brown Cow yogurt for a year – not a bad deal!

– From the folks at Brown Cow Yogurt

I’m curious as to what happens when the 2500 coupons are gone; will they inform the customer BEFORE they write their review, or will they break the news that they’re getting the shaft, after the review has been sent?

I took a quick look at the process, and first, you must “like” their Facebook page, then you write your review, send it with an option to also share it on your personal Facebook wall for bonus entry (which didn’t matter, because even when I declined to share, it still posted to my wall, sneaky! sneaky!) and finally you need to give them your email, name, address for the coupon, etc. Blah! I didn’t get that far!

And look, they even give you a hint, just in case you’re stumped & don’t know what to write (“Mmmm so thick and rich and I got a coupon for a free cup in exchange for sharing my review – check it out”)

Notice they've given you a hint on the positive things to say!

Social Media Marketing is the New Black

I know, I know, it’s common practice for social media to play a huge part in business today, and I’m not complaining about using Facebook for marketing means.

I personally find it appalling that they’ve resorted to begging for POSITIVE reviews with a promise of a coupon for a free cup of their new yogurt.

It is unethical and a screams of desperation, but we, as consumers, are allowing it to happen!

Seriously, people will do anything for a free product. They don’t care if the company they’re supporting lacks marketing principles, just “give me a free yogurt please!” Ugh!

When will consumers learn that saving a couple of dollars isn’t worth the decline of our country’s business morals. Stand up and refuse to support companies like this!

No Need to Beg

Brown Cow could have easily given out 2500 free coupons in exchange for “liking” their Facebook page.

People create a natural “buzz” about a product, sharing links to free stuff like this on their own FB walls. Why force customers to leave a pitiful “review” about a product? If the product is good, people will talk about it instinctively.

As far as I’m concerned, Brown Cow Yogurt has lost me as a customer. It’s a shame, because I really liked their cream-top yogurts, but for now, I’m will not support them.

(Note: Brown Cow is owned by Stonybrook Yogurt, which is owned by Dannon – Brown Cow is not the small, sweet dairy farm that they’d like you to believe.)

UPDATE 2012-08-22: Received an email from Brown Cow regarding my post

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for voicing your thoughts. We welcome feedback here at Brown Cow (yes, even including criticism, as much as it can hurt sometimes!) because it helps us do our jobs better — that is, to make the best yogurt we can and get it to as many people as we can.

We really love this new Cream Top Greek Yogurt and we’ve been getting great response from yogurt-lovers everywhere so we wanted to give fans a space to share their passionate feedback. We welcome any review, however — not just positive reviews — so long as they aren’t obscene. On the site, we also encourage users to include in their review the fact that they are getting a free cup, in the name of full transparency.

And to answer your question — within a day or so of giving out the last coupons, we’ll switch-up the site so it makes it clear the coupons are gone but you can still leave a review to be entered into the grand prize – which is a year’s worth of free yogurt.

We’re a mission-driven company, which is why we use American Humane Certified milk from local farms, why we make our yogurt in small, less processed batches, and why we use only natural ingredients like pure maple syrup and wildflower honey. We do our best to extend these principles to everything we do, and we made a point of doing that here too.

We’re sorry to hear that you think we fell short in this case, but hopefully this note helps add a bit of background and context to our thinking here — and we’ll certainly take your feedback into account as we plan for our promotional efforts in the future.


Hmm, that’s skirting around the issue a little bit, huh? Just a lot of Big Food marketing babble.

My point, which I don’t think they “got”, was that they were basically paying for reviews.

They’re trying to make it sound like their customers needed a “forum” for their passionate feedback….and THAT’S why they started the promotion. Uh, do they really think they would have got all those “passionate” reviews if they weren’t offering a free cup of yogurt in exchange?

And regarding the review form – “within a day or so of giving out the last coupons” they’ll make it known that the coupons are exhausted. So, for that “day or so” people are still leaving reviews thinking they are still getting their free sample. Do they think that those few hundred people are going to settle quietly and not cause a huge fuss over being too late? No way.

As for their American Humane Certified claim, I have to do more research, but since Eggland’s Best eggs are certified as well, I’m not sure how much credence I put into this organization.

I’ve been learning about making my own yogurt at home, & I think it’s definitely time to try!