Free love at the food court

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A new marketing venture in Australia promises to capture the attention of consumers—and hold onto it for more than 15 minutes—when they’re out and about and in the mood to shop. NapkinAd features advertising promotions printed on napkins and napkin dispensers in high-traffic shopping mall food courts, where there’s a constant flow of traffic during business hours, with consumers stopping to chat, rest, grab a cup of coffee or bite to eat—and may even shove a few free napkins in their pockets before heading off to their next destinations. Similar to tissue pack advertising in Japan, the idea is to get an advertisement directly into consumers’ hands—and for longer than one might look at a leaflet before tossing it into the nearest trash can. Like other free love ventures, it works because it offers customers something useful and relevant at no charge—not only do most people not mind the ads, but many feel a fleeting sense of gratitude towards whoever offered them the freebie.

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