Why we love a freebie
Most of us love a freebie. Who would say no to a free gift, even if it’s something you may never use again? Well, approximately 1 in 10 of us, according to a study comparing different surveys conducted by leading retailers. The surveys showed how freebies appealed to the human psychology, and just how many of us jump at the chance to get free stuff. For example - Amazon US offered up $10 gift cards for free, versus $20 gift cards for just $7. In one of their survey groups, 100% of people chose to go for the free $10 gift card, despite the $20 for $7 card actually being a better deal.
Psychologists describe this as the Zero-Price Effect – where there is no downside to ‘free’. Indeed, there is no catch (or so we think). We get something for nothing and that makes us feel like we have won something, and achieved something. By being given something for free, we benefit from a warm feeling of being somewhat special, and it can lead many of us to feel the item is more valuable than it really is.
You may not know it unless you work in Marketing, but this week is international Promotional Products week. That’s right – get ready to head down to your local supermarket or shopping area, and enjoy all the free stuff that is likely to be given out.
According to promotional surveys, 89% of people will keep a free item if they deem it useful. I am hoping this statistic gets around to the marketing world, as I have had a fair share of both useful AND awful free items in my time.
The most useful free items I have been given included a sewing kit, a nail file and (believe it or not) a sick bag. This was very useful to keep to hand on turbulent plane rides, when pregnant, or indeed with any sort of child in tow. I even received some rather watery promotional wine once, which was OK. But better for being free. Yes, they were all branded, and can look a bit rough, but they were free, useful and gave me a sense of accomplishment that I now didn’t have to fork out and buy these items that I may (probably) have bought.
But it’s not all skipping amongst the daisies in the freebie world. I have been given records in the last year (as in LPs – when the last time I came into contact with a record player was back in 1993). I still took them gratefully, thinking that one day maybe I’d make them into cool placemats, or some sort of wall art. I didn’t. Free pencils also grate on me (I prefer a more permanent ink) and those canvas tote bags that seem to be given out by all and sundry? Great if it’s for a funky boutique, but not so great when you end up carrying your shopping around in a bag bearing the name Viagra.
Good or bad though, I did keep all of these freebies for a while. I still have some highlighters somewhere that came from some sort of conference. But did it work as a promotional item, to make me buy the product? Well, I don’t fly with BA even though I own the vomit bag. I may have flashed the Homebase brand to others on the train via the medium of my free pen, but I haven’t shopped there in ages. And as for the Viagra bag – it’s safe to say I haven’t made a purchase just yet. Sorry, Viagra, I just don’t think I am your target market. Although my friends did rather enjoy that freebie.
What’s been the best and worst freebie you’ve ever been given? Hung onto something for years just because it was free? Or do you always decline? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and don’t forget to have your say in our latest paid surveys at Opinion Outpost UK. Top-up your income and earn money from home in your spare time. Better yet, it’s completely FREE to sign up!