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Greenwriter's avatar

If a coffee mug were handed to you for free would you be skeptical?

Asked by Greenwriter (118points) May 15th, 2009

First off. This is “Riser.” I had some issues getting my account working so I decided to make a new one.

Ok so I want to give away 250 mugs full of free coffee at a few tiny-operation coffee houses in Los Angeles, Ca. It’ll have my logo and URL on it but my concern is… would you think of that as an evil tactic devised by a new corporation who will stop at nothing to enslave their consumers?

I want to give it away for free because my target “customer” doesn’t pay a dime for the online service but I don’t know if they’ll bother taking the time in the first place.

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21 Answers

noelasun's avatar

I think I’d just be pretty jazzed with the free stuff.
But then- I am a student firmly in the red.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I’d wash it first.

Allie's avatar

Are you going to be at each of these giveaways or just give the empty mugs to each coffee house with instructions? Are you going to offer it to them? People who come and ask for things on their own are more likely to be interested in what you’re doing. If you make it known that you’re giving away free coffee people will show up then you can let them know what Greenwriter is about while you fill their mug.

This might have been what you had in mind all along. I don’t know.

By the way, good to see you again.

ubersiren's avatar

Yes. I’d be all, “Why is this stranger trying to give me heartburn and shits in a cup? What did I do to him?”

Knotmyday's avatar

Dode, that’s a cool logo. I’ll take one. Still, I’ll probably keep using my usual.

EmpressPixie's avatar

So, if I am reading this correctly, they are getting a free mug and coffee. Thus, you are working with the coffee houses and they are running a promotion where instead of a toss-away cup, they get a real one that day. If I had time to go home or something, I’d love that. If I didn’t, I’d be bummed because I wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

As long as the coffee house is giving away the mug, it is coming from a source I trust (the coffeehouse) and it wouldn’t be weird at all. But if you are just randomly on the street, um, no thanks.

Midna's avatar

I’d think it’d be pretty neat. As a college student I appreciate everything I get. I wouldn’t accept it if I wasn’t going to use it though. I’d feel bad if I didn’t use it since it could have went to someone who could.

Greenwriter's avatar

My website serves screenwriters and anyone interested in finding screenplays. I’m a writer that lived in LA. I know the favored hours of the coffee guzzling scribes and I want to use that to the site’s advantage by giving them something for free to get them on the site… to see that my service is also free (for the writers) so while they’re sipping on their free coffee with their new free mug, they get to see what we’re all about and hopefully save 11,000 trees by the end of this year.

(To Andrew & Ben: Guys if I’m crossing borders let me know. I don’t want to showcase the site on here. Just want to give the necessary info to have my question answered)

P.S. We would be partnering with these small coffee shops so they are giving away the mugs.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Since you’re partnering with the coffee shops, it’s not weird at all. Just a cool perk. Depending on how much they are willing to do with you, you could also choose to get some of those coffee sleeves printed with your site on them and give them to the shop. It saves the shop the expense of using an extra cup or buying the sleeves, saves the trees of an extra cup, and is more advertising for your site.

Just a thought.

Also, as a mod, I do not think this Q violates our non-self-promotion rule in part because you have not linked to it in the Q. We get questions like this sometimes, and they add to the value of the site as a reference for future small business developers.

Greenwriter's avatar

I was considering sleeves but I feel it’s hypocritical considering our mission is to put an end to paper waste within a specific industry.

EmpressPixie's avatar

The only reason I really thought of them is that they started as a way to combat using an entire extra cup, thus reducing paper waste. And they are usually made on 100% recycled paper. It is incredibly, unbelievably unlikely that you could find somewhere that would allow you to dictate any of the paper used at a reasonable price, but it would be hilarious to have sleeves printed on, say, 25% recycled scripts (100% recycled paper).

Greenwriter's avatar

That’s a fantastic idea!

Supacase's avatar

I think it is a great idea! Maybe the coffee shop could ask if they would like their coffee in a free mug in case someone isn’t going home and needs a disposable cup as @EmpressPixie mentioned.

eponymoushipster's avatar

free stuff is always good.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t care what it is, I take free stuff.

Jack79's avatar

I would be skeptical only if the mug didn’t have an advertisement on it. If it’s free stuff with ads, it’s common and acceptable in society. I’ll wear a T-shirt with your name on it if you pay for it. I get a free T-shirt and you get advertised, so we both win.

When it’s a clear mug though, with no logo on it, then I’d get suspicious. So what’s the catch? A woman in Poland was handing out candles just like that, with no logo or anything, turns out she was from the Church. My daughter got scared and didn’t want one.

Greenwriter's avatar

Met with my marketing director today. We want to thank the fluther community for helping us with our decision.

We’ve decided to send me to the coffee houses to officially offer the mugs, let people check the website and ask us any questions on the spot. Like a book signing except for a website.

jrpowell's avatar

Good idea.. At first I was concerned about health regulations. If the coffee shops do it you should be covered. Remember that you have a very narrow market. Don’t waste money at a random shop in west hollywood.

augustlan's avatar

Excellent idea. Innovative business and innovative marketing. I’m impressed already!

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I agree with A, you have to figure out a way to get your customers coming back, and if it means free stuff, then go for it. Most of the coffee cups in my cupboard are from places givign away free cups. About ten of them are from banks I have never deposited a dime into, and some are ones I’ve found at yard sales for a quarter.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’m not skeptical about free things unless i have reason to be. i think it’s a cool idea. if i lived in los angeles and experiences your marketing technique, i’d for sure go to your shop.
i mean obviously a company is trying to get customers and thus money, so i wouldn’t ever be like “PSHH take your free coffee and shove it”, i’d be like “oh hello yummy sales tactic, i love you”

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