Over here on the east coast, the online grocery delivery company Fresh Direct pitches its business to prospective customers in a pretty straightforward way. When I moved into a new place recently, the company dropped off a $50-off coupon. I used it.
But out on the west coast, Amazon’s grocery business, Amazon Fresh, has a slightly different tactic to advertise the recent launch of its service in San Francisco: Dropping off a bag of groceries you didn’t order.
One of my colleagues here at Re/code was among the San Francisco residents who recently found an Amazon Fresh delivery sitting outside the front door. The bag contained dry pasta, fish taco seasoning, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of Coke. I know what you’re thinking: Sounds like all the makings for an unforgettable dinner party.
But, alas, there was not much “fresh” waiting inside — no fresh fruit, no fresh bread. I guess that makes sense considering it could be sitting out there a while, since no one knew the delivery was coming. On the other hand, it’s a bit weird to market a business named Fresh by delivering food that will taste the same three years from now as it does today.
A quick search of Twitter shows that other San Francisco residents have been receiving similar packages. There are those who appreciate the gesture:
And, well, those who don’t:
Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel declined to comment on the marketing campaign, so we don’t know for sure how Amazon is deciding who gets the deliveries. But in talking to a handful of people who received the packages, one thing almost all of them have in common is a subscription to Amazon Prime.