Forward for Free Stuff from Ericsson
Date Added: Apr. 17, 2000
To borrow a quote from Gordon Gecko, "Greed is Good." I don't think that Michael Douglas' character from "Wall Street" had chain letters in mind, but greed is definitely good if you want to create a compelling and long-lasting e-mail hoax. For nearly a decade, chains that promise free money or products just for forwarding them have stood the test of time, mostly because they capitalize on one of mankind's biggest faults: greed. This one first surfaced in 2000, but has evolved over the years to stay topical and continues to haunt our inboxes.
Ericsson is offering this great prize if you can engage in this new marketing strategy.
Subject: FW: Ericsson WAP give-away
Our main competitor, Nokia, is giving free mobile phones away on the Internet. Here at Ericsson we want to counter their offer. So we are giving our newest WAP-phones away as well. They are specially developed for Internet happy customers who value cutting edge technology.By giving free phones away, we get valuable customer feedback and a great Word-of-Mouth effect. All you have to do, is to forward this message to 8 friends.
After two weeks delivery time, you will receive a Ericsson T18. If you forward it to 20 friends, you will receive the brand new Ericsson R320 WAP-phone.
Just remember to send a copy to Anna.Swelund@ericsson.com (mailto:Anna.Swelund@ericsson.com), that is the only way we can see that you forwarded the message.
Best of luck
As the chain suggests, this hoax was borne of another hoax, one that promised free phones from Nokia. That one wasn't true, and neither is this one. At the time, an Ericsson spokesperson told BreakTheChain.org that they were not offering free phones for forwarding e-mails and that Anna Swelund is not an employee of Ericsson.
In 2002, the e-mail was re-worked to name Samsung as the benefactor, but was no more true.
Nor did it gain any credibility in 2007 when the original was dusted off, but updated to offer a free laptop computer, rather than a mobile phone.
The Ericsson Company is distributing free computer lap-tops in an attempt to match Nokia that has already done so. Ericsson hopes to increase its popularity this way. For this reason, they are giving away the new WAP Laptops. All you need to qualify is to send this mail to 8 people you know.
Within 2 weeks, you will receive Ericsson T18. But if you can send it to 20 people or more, you will receive Ericsson R320.
Make sure to send a copy to: email@example.com
No reputable company uses e-mail to give away products and services. It's not some new "marketing strategy." Marketing analysts have looked at it and dismissed it as too unreliable. Chain letters spread exponentially - ten people send it to ten, who send it to ten, etc - and you'll get millions of copies of the letter in just 6 generations. A company that tried a promotion like this (and tried to make good on the offer) could go bankrupt.
Another thing to consider is the privacy implications of a company collecting e-mail addresses (most without their owners' knowledge or consent). If these campaigns were real, what possible thing would the company stand to get out of it other than a sizable list of e-mail addresses? Do you really want your friends and family giving your address to a company for marketing purposes without your permission?
Look through the paper these days and you'll see company after company offering a "free" cellular phone. Of course the fine print in those ads tells you that the phone is free "after rebate," and that the offer is available to "new subscribers only." Unfortunately, similarity to those offers give e-mailed "free phone" offers more credibility than they deserve. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Break this chain!