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When you get something for nothing, you just haven't been billed for it yet.

Doreen Howell
Today's fortune submitted by:
Doreen Howell

Boston, MA, USA

Doreen Howell is a marketing communications expert specializing in brand management and integrated marketing strategies. Skilled in navigating complex challenges like website revamps and global photoshoots, she's known for her organizational skill and creative insight. Doreen quickly masters marketing essentials and excels at transforming visions into impactful realities, establishing her as a leading professional in dynamic marketing settings.

Doreen was one of my first clients many moons ago. She is an incredibly smart marketer, endlessly creative, a 'can do' optimist, and a great friend.

Free Prize Inside.

Today's Marketing Cookie is a classic marketing mind trick. It's really as simple as this: Give something away so you can get them to buy! The consumer knows that the offer is all a big setup, but that word, "FREE," always draws them in.

My mother always went shopping on Friday nights, and I can remember waking up early on Saturday morning so I could be the first to dig out the free prize in the cereal box. Sometimes it had settled way down at the bottom of the bag. So, I would have my entire arm in the cereal box, touching every bit of it, and digging around in there until I had found the free toy.

It was like Christmas!

Then one day, some executives at Kellogg's, General Mills, and Post all got together and decided it would be a smarter idea not to include the prizes in the cereal boxes anymore. Instead, they decided to make kids collect a bunch of those proof of purchase tags and promised to send you the prize in the mail. What a pain!

I cut out and collected the little tags religiously for a month and finally had enough to mail them in. In reading the fine print, I noticed it could take up to ten weeks for shipping and handling. So I waited, and waited, and waited. As a kid, waiting two and a half months for a prize to arrive in the mail might as well be ten years.

Finally, the prize arrived on our front doorstep. I opened it up in two seconds flat... and there it was!!! A shiny new license plate for my bike - with my name on it! I flew outside and tied it to the back of my seat with some string. Oh, it was glorious and so worth the wait! While it took so much more loyalty, work, and waiting to get my free prize, the value of the prize was so much greater.

I immediately hopped on my bike and rode down the street to show it to all my friends. When I got out to Benson Road, I saw that the town had heavy equipment out there to dig up the road and replace the sewer pipes. So I parked my bike and decided to watch them dig with my friends. My buddy said that we could probably see the hole better from the hill on the other side of the road, so we crossed the street and watched from the other side for a while.

Soon, some giant dump trucks arrived to carry off loads of the old pavement. With a hole in the center of the road, there wasn't much room for the bucket loader to scoop up the debris, so he started driving up on people's lawns to turn around. Back and forth he went until we all heard a big > CRUNCH < and the men started shouting, "Stop!, Stop!"

My buddies and I ran back across the street to see what happened, and there on the lawn was a mangled mess of metal that used to be my bike. Still attached to the seat was a bent up and twisted new license plate I had worked so hard and waited so long to receive. I was heartbroken. Come to think of it, I cared more for that license plate than I did for the bike.

Although we didn't have to send in any money for the license plate, I had to get my mother to buy six boxes of cereal, get stamps, mail everything in, and then wait ten weeks for it to arrive. So was it really free? Perhaps not, but the work and waiting it took to get it made it incredibly valuable for this little boy.

Having a free prize in every box gives everyone something for nothing. However, offering a free prize to the few who are willing to work and wait for it increases loyalty. The truth is, if you offer something of great value to your prospects, they will do what it takes to get it, and those people will often become your best customers.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Cookie

Percent Daily Value


Percent Daily Values are based on the essential nutrients required to maintain a healthy mindset, fostering success in your marketing, prosperity in your career, and fulfillment in your life.








Submitted by:

Doreen Howell

Unpackaged in: 

Boston, MA, USA

Cookie Ingredients:


What marketing is really saying:

"Kid's popcorn, candy and soda: $158."

What marketing says:

"Kid's discounted movie tickets: $8."

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by Myles Bristowe

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