Drinks seller Thresher Group has reverted to last year’s highly successful discount tactic in a bid to boost Xmas sales of wine and champagne.

A similar 40%-off offer – which the company claimed was a costly error twelve months ago, but was actually a highly sneaky viral marketing trick – is now being promoted on its website.

Once again, it features printable PDF vouchers that can be redeemed in store, and according to The Independent, has “been widely emailed to UK consumers”.

But this time, the retailer hasn’t claimed that the offer was only meant for suppliers and staff members, or put out a warning that it faces financial meltdown now it has gone viral.

The last year has seen retailers’ online discount campaigns continuing to be widely-distributed on the web, for both good and ill.

Online promotions have backfired on the likes of Littlewoods and Hamleys, but Malcolm Pinkerton of the British Retail Consortium told the Independent that viral email marketing had “proved successful for many” brands over the last year.

Meanwhile, a recent study by Kontraband estimated that viral marketing agencies experienced growth of around 60% in the first seven months of 2007, as well as a 67% increase in seeding campaigns, including discount offers.

If true, that could make viral the fastest growing area of the sector this year, according to our estimates.

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