To freebie or not to freebie?

Promotions and freebies are not always a good thing. You need look no further than the Guardian’s current offering for proof of that.Its “celebrity-designed wrapping paper” is, in fact, a page of newspaper, complete with come-off-on-your-hands ink. Designs are, predictably, on a par of shoddiness. David Bailey has taken a photo of the pavement. Possibly accidentally. Kylie has scrawled something about glitter on what looks the wall of a toilet. The only person who seems to have really made an effort is Jonathon Ross – so well done him. To be fair, though, he does have a bit more free time on his hands than the others.But not well done the Guardian, who has provoked confused outcries from readers everywhere, perhaps best surmised by author Andrew Collins in his blog here:"When I eventually found it, and showed it to my wife, we were both IN TEARS. It was genuinely the funniest thing we had seen in the papers for many years, combining a dazzling array of stupid 21st century Nathan Barley media cliches in one slim page: Pointless celebrity! Bad art! Free stuff that's rubbish! Over-promotion! And, tomorrow, in The Observer, Kylie Minogue!"So, dear readers, do not promote with freebies for the sake of promoting with freebies. You risk your reputation.A good promotion should be exactly in line with the tone of your business, your USPs, your business identity and your scale. Make it ingenious and different, yes – but not at the risk of doing something that no one sees the point of. Use your common sense. Give people something they want, something they will use and something they will enjoy. That way, they will associate your business with feelings of fulfilled purpose, usefulness and enjoyment. And if anyone from the Guardian is reading this – take note.

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