Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Playoffs 2013 [Print without images]

Monday, February 3, 2014
Store loses $7M with Seahawks' win

By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com

Next to the Denver Broncos, Jim McIngvale had the worst Super Bowl loss.

The CEO of Houston-based Gallery Furniture lost $7 million on a promotion that promised to give customers who shopped at his stores their money back if the Seattle Seahawks won Sunday.

But when contacted Monday, McIngvale said he was "thrilled."

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Gallery Furniture flipped a coin to determine that the customers would be rooting for the Seahawks while the store would be rooting for the Broncos.

Anyone who spent more than $6,000 and had their furniture delivered by kickoff Sunday would get a full refund if Seattle won. Roughly 1,000 people bought enough to be eligible for the promotion with an average bill of $7,000, and McIngvale said one customer will get $30,000 back as a result of his big purchase.

Companies usually protect themselves from losing big money through promotions like this by taking out insurance, but McIngvale said the gambler in him prevents him from doing that. He acknowledges that losing the money increases the value of the promotion as it further helps his brand break through the clutter and get more media attention.

"Doing a promotion like this creates affinity, creates trust with the customer, makes you relevant," said McIngvale, who is nicknamed "Mattress Mack" and has been known in the marketing community for his renegade promotions. "We already have people sending us videos of them jumping up and down celebrating, so I have no doubt that what we will lose is already worth it to our business."

McIngvale, whose stores have been in business for 32 years, still says $7 million is a significant hit. He said it represents roughly 5 percent of the company's annual revenues.

Customers who want to get their money back will have to wait. The company will have two "refund parties," one Feb. 9 and one Feb. 23.