Price Will Always Play

In today’s paper, New York Times takes a look at the lowly coupon and its place in the world.

An estimated 99 percent of the roughly 300 billion coupons distributed annually in the United States — mainly in Sunday newspapers — end up in the trash, unused and unredeemed.
“The paper coupon is the single most inefficient marketing tool you could imagine,” said Peter Sealey, a former chief marketing officer at Coca-Cola who is a marketing consultant in Sausalito, Calif. “The traditional paper coupon is going to die. It can’t survive in the Internet world.”

While that may be, the article points out how ingrained the couponing habit is, for consumers and the brands who publish these price-driven motivators.
Also, while use of online coupons is rising rapidly, they still account for less than 1 percent of the consumer goods coupons distributed, according to the Promotion Marketing Association, a trade group. Ergo, the paper polution will continue.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I think the coupon is a great marketing tool. You are targeting a very specific market when you have coupons, and many times, it serves as a cost effective way to associate a low price point and value with a product name and brand. If people cut your coupon, but go to the store without them, I would be willing to bet they would pick up your brand for the recognition alone. They physically interacted with your brand, so they should recognize it more.

  2. there are many deserving the title “the single most inefficient marketing tool you could imagine” — most of them work on madison avenue.