The Key to Promoting your Business!

December 4, 2008 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

You’re a starving student with just enough pocket change to be deemed a chump. You live out of your friend’s walk-in closet and subsist on MSG-laced noodles in a cup (three for a dollar!). So when it comes to buying a college-ruled spiral notebook for biology class, which would you choose: a fancy $10 one with your school’s name in gold-foil lettering, or one that’s absolutely free?

Of course, everyone loves a freebie. It’s what makes the world go ’round. That’s the idea behind Eco-Notes, which comes to U.S. college campuses in January 2009. Pros: The paper pads use 100% recycled paper and soybean-based ink. Con: Each pad contains advertisements at the bottom of each page. Though in an age when digital billboards glare into your bedroom, do you really mind the sight of a print ad?

Eco-Notes founder Rodrigo Namikawa got the idea after a visit to Japan. He was turned on to a company which offered free photocopies at the cost of seeing ads on the back of each page.

Japanese advertisers are light years ahead of the U.S. Every time I’m in Japan I’m bombarded with free tissue packs when walking down Tokyo’s crowd-infested streets. Each contains colorful inserts, mostly promoting naughty telephone hotlines. Just looking at the ads gives me the heebie-jeebies, but of course I take them anyway. Free tissue comes in handy in a country that doesn’t believe in paper towels. I’m pretty good about removing the ads before using them, but there was one dark and boring night when my friend took my tissue pack and called the toll-free number just for kicks. (Women call for free; men pay. Horrible, ain’t it?) Score one for the advertisers.


Especially during the summer when throngs of young people gather for festivals, advertisers are in full force passing out goodies like bottle samples, fans (the kind you wave in your face), file folders, towels… you name it. The idea is to give people something they can use. Sure, products like these might cost a little more than hot-off-the-press flyers. But when it comes to a free notebook or a free flyer, you can bet only one will be going home with them.


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December 2008


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