The Simplest Trick in Advertising and Promotions?

July 30, 2010 Blog 3 comments

Yesterday evening, as I was going home from work, I was handed a packet of free tissues outside City Hall MRT station along North Bridge Road. Considered one of the oldest promotional gimmick in the book, it came from QB House – famous for its 10 minute haircut costing $10 – which recently opened a branch at Basement 2 of Raffles City.

QB House Promotion Gimmick

Despite the small rectangular area of the tissue, the company has cleverly done a few things right:

1) Adopt bright and easily readable fonts with brand oriented colours

2) Highly visible call for action (WE ARE NOW OPEN!)

3) Clearly articulated information on their key USP (10 minutes haircut for S$10)

4) Emphasise their 3 major highlights in Chinese characters and pictorial symbols (Skill, Cleanliness, and Timeliness)

5) Include their web URL

As I opened up the pack, I noticed that it came with a map showing the location of the new outlet in red.

QB House Promotion Gimmick

In my view, giving away a pack of tissues is quite a no-brainer in marketing. People are more likely to pick up something that offers them utility as opposed to a brochure – even if it offers a discount or a lucky draw. The cost of mass producing and distributing them are also fairly reasonable.

Oh yes, I forgot to add that people who don’t mind getting a freebie (like a pack of tissues) are also likely to go for budget $10 haircuts! So the company could be spot-on in terms of understanding its target audiences too.

Do you agree that giving away items like this still work in today’s context?

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. Walter, Tissues work like magic. The public will reject a brochure or a flyer thrust in their way, however they will take the tissue packs. It is also a fact that they also ask more more! I have used tissue promotion several times to introduce a new product/service. At the very least, attained “A” and “I” of AIDA.


  2. Sometimes, the basics really do work best. Then again, “basics” depends on the product and the brand. Tissues and $10 haircuts go great! But maybe not so much a new indie bookstore (maybe for them, cleverly designed Post-It notes). And neither would work for the new Bulgari store. As always, marketers need to remember to make sure their msgs and tactics are “on brand.”

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