We all know that the purpose of advertising is to encourage customers
buy stuff. For the average retailer, this depends on first getting the
customer to enter a physical store. It is known that once inside, an
average customer tends to buy more items than whatever he or she
came to the store to obtain. That's why some items can be
steeply discounted, such that they are called "loss leaders". The store
takes a loss on those items, but makes up for it by leading the customers
to the opportunity to buy all the other stuff.
Well, most kinds of loss leaders don't appeal to all possible customers.
But this one might. Discount Money! About the same size and shape
a dollar bill, but made of tough plastic, the store manager hides a
number of these things (possibly
be called "tickets") in various places around the store. Some of the
advertising budget is devoted to paying for this idea's implementation.
No other advertising should be required, as explained below.
A customer wandering the aisles finds one of the Discount Money
tickets. Curious, reading the printing on the ticket informs the finder of
the 3 very
1. Take ticket to a cashier.
2. You are charged $X for the ticket, but the cashier claims it (so the
store can re-use it)
3. Your total bill-of-sale is reduced by twice $X, but may not go below
So, the customer can't use the full value of the ticket if not buying
something that costs at least $X. The math is simple: $X for the item,
plus $X for the ticket, minus twice $X because of the ticket's discount,
Zero. Any item in the store costing about $X essentially becomes a
possible "loss leader". But the Discount Money could be used to partly
pay for more-expensive items, also, of course.
The ticket might also mention that others were hidden around the store,
possibly still waiting to be found. Would the finder of this ticket like to
tweet (or otherwise inform) friends about them?
Some folks will try to keep the discovery a secret, looking for more
but people like to talk too much for such a thing to stay secret.
will blab. Every business knows that word-of-mouth advertising is the
effective. So, not long afterward, hordes of people will come to the
searching for the Discount Money tickets. Most might buy something,
even if they don't find one....
And every night, after the store closes, the manager hides the tickets in
new places around the store. What is the store's advertising budget for
month? Divide it by [31 (or so days per month) times $X per ticket], to
the maximum number of possible tickets to hide. That's if all the tickets
have the same value of $X, of course. Figuring the maximum number
of tickets becomes more complicated if several "denominations" of
tickets are used.
The store might not ever need any other kind of advertising. And this is
something that an on-line-only retailer might never be able to match.
Long Live The Mom-And-Pop Store!