Friday, May 02, 2008

Oh! Freebies, freebies!

It was a fairly new concept in the mid-nineties to offer giveaways along with the main product. In the nineties? Yeah, I think so, because that was the time when life started making some sense. It's a different matter altogether that I have lost it completely now! It was great to explore new paths, and be awestruck by everything around. Well, this post is not about the new found wisdom of the wonder kids. OK, let's get back to where we started. Knowing me, you can well fathom, how quickly I tend to digress.

How many of you remember seeing advertisements on the television promoting an offer along with the main product?

Buy a 500 grams packet of Complan, and get a Complan mug free!

Buy two refill packs of Boost, and get a bat signed by Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev absolutely free!

But a 250 grams packet of Red Label tea, and get a stainless spoon (who cares!), absolutely free!

Buy a refill pack of Maltova, and get a nice cricket cap, free!

Buy a refill pack of Bournvita, and get the Bournvita Quiz Contest quiz book autographed by the quiz master, Derek 'O Brien, absolutely free.

How do you think I remember these free items? I have troubled my mother all along to get these items, come what may. My partner in crime, my brother, would make my task a touch easier by employing sophisticated "wailing" techniques to grab her attention. But those days, it was not an easy task, because unlike today's kids who can get anything they want, it required an Herculean effort to convince parents to get us something. Generally, wailing is not a great method. We realized it years later! In spite of the fact that there were fifteen unused mugs at home, the Complan mug advertised on TV would still be the "Ultimate" mug. We were never a fan of Maltova, but what to do, who can get us a free cap? It is a different matter altogether as to who uses the cap after we get the pack. Our mother would obviously not get more than a pack (that itself is quite a task), and now it was up to us to wrestle that cap from each other's grasp to adorn one's (only one not both!) head. It would be difficult to outwit the other as both of us knew the same strategies. Even though he is five years younger than me, he picked them up pretty quickly, much to my disdain. The bat that was advertised would break easily into two pieces, but come on, it was signed by two cricketing greats. How can we let go?

It really did not matter whether we liked Boost or some other drink. Generally, what was purchased as the monthly drink depended largely on the cleverly advertised by-product. One more thing, we knew there was no point in asking for something which was just not in our hands. We knew what to expect when it came to out of bound things. It was a strict NO! We, obviously, never cared to find out what was offered with dish washing detergent or washing powder or one of those numerous household products. They were never interesting. Of all the free items that I remember obtaining, the two things that I used maximum were the Boost bat (it was pretty good, it lasted for at least two or three games) and the Bournvita quiz book (pretty informative). The rest, after the first round fight with my brother, used to lay discarded, which eventually found their way to some of the poor kids in the neighborhood. I still remember the joy on their faces on being offered these simple things.

Yeah, one thing is for sure. The best way to advertise your product is to offer a nice attractive giveaway. Again, it makes sense only if it is something that would interest the kids!


  1. Had a good laugh, Praveen. Very good observation of the psychological studies made by sales people.I have been through this with my boys, too.

    I think it is a foolproof method to assure the sale of a product - offer something free, and whether the freebie is required or not, the product gets sold. We know it well, and yet we fall for the technique.

  2. The 2 most effective advertising words are (in that order).


  3. Raji maami,
    Yeah, I am sure even your boys must have troubled you :-) Ask my mother, and she will second your as well as my opinion on this regard!! But, this is definitely a foolproof method for sure!!!!

    Hahahaha :-) I am laughing at the three letter wonder :-)

  4. Very humourously written.

    Looks the freebies actually are the Bournvita, Boost n RL Tea kinds..!!!!

    Well, I too must admit.. " I AM A COMPLAN BOY errr.. MUG..!!!" :-)))

  5. Mr. Kat (Please tell me your actual name before I make a complete mess of it!!!),
    Thanks! Yeah, there was a time, when we were buying things only because of the free items than actually for the product :-)

  6. knwo what...I am stilla freebie freak!! Even now when I walk out of the subway station, and there are people handing out free stuff, it just makes my day. I think habits die hard!!!

  7. OOh and also who can forget the career fairs in UMR!! Praveen of all people you knwo what I am talkign about ;)

  8. Shubhika,
    How can I forget the career fair, tell me? :-) People were asking me whether I was coming out of Ozark's mall :-)

  9. Dear dear Praveen, I am known to respond when people call me "Newton" :-)))) you too can call me so.... This messy matter is the 'mister' you use :-)))

  10. Ok, Newton, matter taken care off :-) In any case, Einstein is my favourite :-)))