How do companies separate themselves from the pack with giveaways? Who doesn’t like getting stuff for free? Getting stuff for free is like returning to the innocent days of Christmas when we were delighted to find free stuff under the tree.
Since marketing staffs are well aware of people’s desire for free stuff there is no shortage of promotional giveaways intended to create good will, brand awareness and customer connection. Of course inside of a market saturated with giveaways there comes the challenge of rising above the herd and doing something special that customers will really remember. While many companies try there are a handful that have hit the mark in a special way.
Here are a few of the best, most effective giveaways ever.
Now since its 2013 no one is impressed with a free email service, in fact no one even expects to pay for their email accounts, so how did Google generate massive buzz for the launch of Gmail when Yahoo and Microsoft had been offering free email for a decade? They made it cool. In fact, Google created a buzz about Gmail by making it Silicon Valley cool.
Gmail was initially launched it not to the world, but to select insiders. They created scarcity which can lead to demand by sharing it through invitation only. Each invitee could share it with just five others of their choosing. Sounds like middle school all over again… but it worked! If you sported a Gmail account, you were one of the cool kids, connected to Silicon Valley royalty.
When Gmail spread to people who didn’t care about how close they were to Silicon Valley it was still seen as limited, an invite only service. So despite the fact that it had expanded beyond Silicon Valley cool, having a @gmail.com email still carried a certain cachet . It worked like a charm and that makes it cool.
Oprah’s Favorite Things
If anyone understood how to promote corporate brands while looking like a modern day saint it is Oprah Winfrey. Her supersized giveaways to a limited studio audience, which reached a global TV audience cost the companies providing the items a drop in their marketing budget, but it made for spectacular TV.
On her last giveaway episode, the audience was comprised of people who had done good for their communities back home, as well as some of her biggest fans (maybe some were both?). Every single member of the audience left with an expensive diamond-studded watch, a camera by Nikon, and a week-long cruise. People still talk about Oprah’s epic giveaways and if you use the line, “And YOU get a car, and YOU get a car, and YOU get a car!” everyone will know what you’re talking about.
Bobbleheads and Baseball
People love Baseball bobbleheads so much they will leave their homes, buy tickets to a game they don’t want to watch, drive to a stadium, pay stadium parking rates just to get a plastic bobble head. Major League Baseball knows this and they’ve used giveaways to increase attendance like Jimi Hendrix used the guitar to make music. Fans love bobblehead figurines so much that many of them become instant baseball collectibles. Over 50 years of tradition now, and bobblehead giveaways still draw fans in significant numbers, no matter how cheap the toy actually is. That’s good marketing ROI.
McDonalds Teenie Beanie Babies
It’s pretty safe to say that pretty much everyone on earth knows the McDonalds brand. The marketing geniuses who came up with the golden arches know how to create demand.
When they latched onto the Teenie Beanie Babies trend, overwhelming demand forced McDonald’s had to restrict the number of Beanie Babies a customer could buy. Of course this then drove demand even higher and McDonalds exhausted their supply of the toys before hitting the halfway mark of the promotion. What makes this cool? It was one of the most successful promotions of all time.
AOL Disk Giveaway
AOL used to be huge. It was the ultimate computing destination of the nineties as well as the ultimate marketing machine that brought the company fame and fortune. They accomplished their rarified status by sending free software installation CDs to everyone, everywhere. No, literally everyone, and they kept sending them. Everyone mentioned them, the disks became a part of the social fabric and the marketing push was a huge success and AOL became a household name. Too bad for AOL, the technology landscape changed faster than they did, and now their past marketing exploits seem to have more notoriety than they current products and services.
The bottom line here is that giveaways are often thought of as expensive, yet they’ve yielded some of the best marketing results ever seen. If you’re going to use a giveaway to promote your brand or event, be sure to go big.
Custom Bobbleheads offers one-of-a-kind bobbleheads that can be fully customized from head to toe on their website, CustomBobbleheads.com. Meredith Hunter writes independently on creative decor and gift ideas.