John Legere, the CEO of US telecom T-Mobile, has promised to give away a trip to Mars if his tweet gets a million retweets by October 11. That's right, the CEO of a major American company is promising something that doesn't exist using the tactics of a common chain letter. CEO of T-Mobile John Legere at CES in 2013 (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Remember chain letters? We used to get them sometimes when I was a kid. They'd promise that if you just did such-and-such and sent the same letter to a dozen friends or strangers, you'd get something great. But at least the chain letter usually promised something that existed. Like money. Or reliable phone coverage.
Sure, Elon Musk is super optimistic about plans to put people on Mars within his lifetime. But even Legere knows that this probably isn't going to happen. At least not any time soon. So he has a backup plan.
What does the one lucky winner get if they don't invent a way to get to Mars soon? $US200,000 ($262,248). Not a bad prize. But it's no trip to Mars.
You gotta read the fine print:
PRIZING: The prizes will be based on the number of retweets during the Promotion Period as follows: 10,000-49,999 Retweets: Trip anywhere in the USA in the form of a $800 [$AU1049] airline credit (ARV=$800 [$AU1049]) 50,000-99,999 Retweets: Novus Zero Gravity Recliner by Relax The Back, "Leather" option (ARV=$1995.00 [$AU2620]) 100,000-999,999 Retweets: Zero gravity experience (closest to your location. Transportation to experience not included) (ARV=$5500 [$AU7224]) 1,000,000+ Retweets: Trip to Mars (ARV=$200,000 [$AU262,248]). In the case that a trip to Mars is not commercially available, Prize Winner will receive the ARV in the form of a check.
Apparently this whole stunt is to celebrate Legere getting three million Twitter followers. A T-Mobile spokesperson told CNBC, "When [John Legere] hit 3 million [Twitter followers] — and Elon Musk basically said Mars travel is coming from SpaceX in just a few years for just $200k a person — John thought: 'Let's send someone to Mars!'"
Unfortunately, Australians aren't eligible, but your American friends may want to try their luck. The winners of the prizes (including a trip to anywhere in the US, and a "zero gravity chair") will be chosen October 12.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 5, 2016