In a time of fierce global competition, where an immense amount of commercial messages reaches consumers around the clock and in every conceivable context, companies constantly seek to find new ways to reach out with their product. One way to do so, that has increased in popularity in recent years, is the use of gift bags. A gift bag may contain samples, miniature products and even products in full size, as a rule from several different brands, which the recipient receives free of charge. The gift bag is typically distributed at some form of event, such as store openings, fashion shows, theme parties and the like, and the receiver of the gift bag can then evaluate the content without any obligation to purchase. The ambition of the companies that choose to participate with their products in a gift bag is, of course, that the recipient will find their products satisfactory, and ideally, that he or she will continue to consume the brand in the future.
There are numerous scientific research contributions related to the use of free samples, but very few that concern the gift bag, where a collection of samples from different sources and brands appear. The ambition of this study is to investigate how the conditions change when a free sample is exposed to competition from samples from other companies. The study has a qualitative approach, and consists of interviews with companies that use, or have used, gift bags as a marketing channel, along with an interview with a focus group consisting of people with experience of participating in various events where gift bags occur.
The study concludes that marketing through the use of gift bags can have several positive effects for the participating brands. These are, for example, increased brand awareness and an increase in sales. However, it is of importance to evaluate the competing brands participating in the gift bag, as well as the context in which it will be distributed. The study shows that the size of the sample is of importance, since the receiver tends to notice more voluminous samples over smaller ones. Also, the presence of more established brands can have a positive effect on less well-known brands, as their credit will enhance the other participating products. It is important to note that this is only true for samples that are not of the same product category. If this is the case, they will instead be in direct competition with each other.
2014. , 42 p.