Restaurant chain “Dave & Busters” has been what I would call, the “grown-up Chuck-E-Cheese” for quite some time. Now they are catering to the Chuck-E-Cheese demographic. In a promotion mentioned in a 15-second commercial, Dave & Busters claims that if a child customer says “kids rule” that before 3 p.m. all gaming is free until that time. After an investigation involving by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, CARU is recommending that the chain no longer advertise that their gaming is in fact “free.”
In the ad’s small print, it states: “Free play is only valid with the same day $20 Power Card purchase or reload. Valid only on non-redemption games, July 7- July 18, 2014. Not valid with other offers, including Half Price Games, Wednesday, Eat and Play Combo or Special events. Promotion is only valid Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until 3PM.”
CARU notes that the fee of $20 is enough to substantiate the idea that the chain is falsely advertising a promotion. Dave & Busters did comply with the suggestion and have no longer stated the “free video games” in any of their promotions.
These ads are telling of what Dave & Busters values. They are giving a reward to their younger customers but with monetary conditions and hoops to jump through to enjoy those rewards. Due to that, not many young customers are actually going to be able to experience those rewards like the company is claiming in their ads.
It also shows what Dave & Busters thinks of itself as a company. They are a successful chain and these ads show that they believe that they are such a premium entity that their demands that must be met to meet this particular reward are such that it meets their needs as a company and fits their mission.
Now this may not affect what customers think of Dave & Busters since it was in the small print and they are no longer running that ad. Still though, those that were under the impression of receiving their reward were likely disappointed to find out that free costs $20.