Thursday, May 28, 2009
King Gillette:The Godfather of Giveaways
Consumer demand is vital for any service or product to survive, and as disposable income drops,products that were once considered essentials may be reclassified as a luxuries. (Think Starbucks Coffee)
To maintain or increase the level of demand, marketers are burdened with the task of redefining their product's image to broaden its appeal.
King Gillette, founder of Gillette Safety Razor Company, (now known as Global Gillette) understood the value of freebie marketing. His strategy was simple in practice yet profoundly effective: Giveaway a free Gillette Shaver and sell replacement blades at a premium. Gillette's practice started in the late 1890's and continues to this day. His concept has earned him the recognition as a pioneer of giveaway, AKA "Freebie Marketing." In fact, Wikipedia cites King Gillette as the pioneer of freebie marketing. An excerpt from the freebie marketing section reads:
While working as a traveling salesman in the 1890s for the Crown Cork and Seal Company, Gillette had an idea while attempting to shave one morning. His straight razor was so worn from use that it could no longer be sharpened. His idea was to create thin, cheap, removable blades that could simply be removed from the handle and discarded when no longer usable.As consumers use up the blades they then purchase replacements, potentially going on for years and decades. This ensures a steady flow of consumers.
Gillette's foresight was truly remarkable. I've been inspired to search for a company with a comparable strategy. Which company is ensuring a steady flow of consumers for decades? When I find it, I'll write a follow-up post.
By Matt O'Hern at 11:16 AM | Comments (1)