When the best thing you can do with your marketing budget is give it away!

December 22, 2014

When the act of giving gives back!

There have been plenty of marketing campaigns and publicity stunts over the years focusing on free giveaways as a method of marketing.

Time and time again, this system has worked for businesses, and it’s easy to see why: who doesn’t love free stuff!?

And what better time of year to run such a campaign than at Christmas!

This tactic comes with challenges though: what to give away, how to capture it and use it as a marketing tool, and depending on your brand and product, there could be a whole bunch of unique challenges for you.

If it’s not done right, it can be viewed as a total waste of time and money.

However when it IS done right, the publicity and exposure gained are virtually unbeatable!

In particular, when you combine a video of generous acts with the power of social media, the potential for a campaign to go viral is very real, and here are some examples that have nailed it.


Christmas Surprise Traffic Stop with Lowell Police

This is an outstanding campaign that only kicked off in recent weeks. The Lowell Police Department in Michigan released a YouTube video showing police officers pulling people over for things like minor traffic infringements. However rather than issuing a ticket, they issued gifts, and not just any gifts, but the actual things that people wanted for Christmas.

This video topped 3 million views in less than 10 days, and in this time their Facebook page grew by over 6,000 fans. Considering we are still a week from Christmas, we have a feeling this campaign is far from done.

KFC Drive Through Surprises

Running a successful viral campaign for a brand regarded as junk food is a tricky task, with hit & miss results at best. One glance at the Facebook wall of McDonald’s for example, shows that virtually anything they post gets met with negative comments. Lots of them.

However KFC have managed to create a campaign which so far appears to be doing great! The ‘KFC Drive Through Surprises’ shows customers at the drive through pulling up to pay, only to be told their meal is for free. Not only is their meal free but they also receive a gift. The gifts ranged from cricket sets and beanbags to LCD TVs and quad bikes!

Having been launched only 5 days ago (at the time this post was written), the campaign has already received over 3,500 ‘likes’ and over 680 shares on Facebook.

What next?

When done right, videos of everyday people receiving gifts combined with social media, creates a virtually guaranteed recipe for a successful marketing campaign.

It’s certainly not a new concept. Last year, Canadian Airline West Jet gave custom gifts to each passenger on a flight as they landed, and it was 10 years ago now that Oprah gave free cars to the 270 or so people in her audience, but this method of marketing is here to stay.

It will be interesting to see what kind of giveaways and campaigns will continue to pop up in years to come.

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