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June 11, 2011

Freebies galore (Sampling) - cherry picking, Eenadu, Cine Blitz, Cookie queen, Super Markets sampling

A free sample or "freebie" is a portion of food or other product (could be a beauty product) given to consumers in shopping malls, supermarkets, retail stores, or other venues. Sometimes samples of non-perishable items are included in direct marketing mailings. The purpose of a free sample is to acquaint the consumer with a new product. The customer is able to try out a product before purchasing it.

Many consumer product companies now offer free samples through their websites to encourage consumers to regularly use the products, Paint chips are samples of paint colors that are sometimes offered as free samples.

It is also possible to purchase products in small "trial size" containers. This is common with toiletries such as shampoo which are useful for vacations or other travel where large bottles or other containers would be impractical .These are also often provided in hotel rooms free of cost for the guests.

One of the best sampling that I witnessed happened in the California bay area. We had driven down to a huge cherry orchid. The orchid was full of trees with ripe cherries. Coming from India where cherries are never eaten fresh it was a very pleasant sight. The cherries were fresh and they were hanging from the trees. The visitors could eat as many cherries as they liked. But cherries that are plucked and placed in basket will have to be bought at 2 US dollars a kg. I had never eaten so many cherries in my life. A very good way of getting the customers to try your product!.

Eenadu the popular Telugu daily and one of the leading newspapers in India had a humble and quiet beginning in  the seventies. Eenadu’s promotion was very unique. The paper was delivered free of cost to the readers for a month. And Eenadu was delivered promptly at 0530 hours in the morning. Ramoji Rao the owner of Eenadu hit two birds with one stone. He made the readers sample his product and also demonstrated his efficient distribution chain.

Cine Blitz the popular Hindi film magazine had a very unique sampling technique. In the eighties Cine Blitz was priced around 30 rupees and it offered a Hindi film song cassette free with every magazine. At that time the cassettes used to cost 50 rupees and the readers lapped up the unique scheme. It was win-win for all concerned - Cine Blitz improved its circulation, the readers got a free cassette and the movie makers whose songs were in the cassettes got free pre release publicity.

Unfortunately Cine Blitz made a critical mistake. They did not understand the value proposition. Were the readers buying Cine Blitz for the cassette or the cassette for the magazine? Finally Cine Blitz dropped the idea of a free film cassette and the sales of the magazine dropped too.

The writing on the wall was very clear. The readers were buying the magazine for the cassette. They perceived value for the cassette and not for the magazine. Good lesson for companies to clearly think  out their strategy and not jump into any promotional activity in a haste.

Cookie Queen. That’s the example that jumps into the mind when we talk about free sampling. Cookie queen was a gusty American Entrepreneur who handed out free cookies for many years before they became popular. Now her range of cookies are world famous. She writes in her book about her experiences in dealing with the Japanese. For the hygiene conscious Japanese accepting even free samples were a taboo. But the plucky lady convinced the skeptical Japanese to sample her cookies and today her brand of cookies continue to do well in Japan.

Super markets in USA are a world in themselves. They are so gigantic that one could get his three days quota of walking by vising just one super market. Understanding the hunger that the visitors must be feeling the marketers have hit upon a brilliant idea. Free sampling of food. One can see nattily dressed men and women who conjure mouth watering varieties of dishes and offer the same as samples to the shoppers. The shoppers taste the products and many buy the product for home usage.

1 comment:

  1. great..nice artical and publishing by you...appreciate on you...thanks for giving detail..

    happy after reading your blog....