'Buy one get one free', 'up to 50% discount' on this or that occasion, 'now an attractive mug' or a free tub with a packet of detergent (brand) ….these are but a few of the catchwords of aggressive sale of products these days. Promotion of products certainly does not follow straight lines or ethical standards. Some of the claims made in favour of a few beverages are viciously outrageous. When the malt of a popular brand used as a child drink blurs that it makes a young child taller by three inches than his/her peers not drinking it, the claim simply smacks of sheer nonsense.
Well, not many people find fault with exaggerated claims made through ads provided they are either metaphorical or humorous in nature. Some of the ads made for promotion of products, however, are rustic with no trace of playing with words and subtle flashes of wit which is the soul of this kind of promotional contents. Where witticism is absent, advertisement looks or sounds dull and drab and sometimes gets on nerves because of their overuse. On the electronic media, the frequency of ads ---some of them falling in the baser category ---even during news hours let alone drama serials, play or film compel the viewers to switch over to foreign channels. The popular the programme is the greater the frequency of ads.
In this exercise, however, no other agency can beat the mobile operators. Life is made a hell for a subscriber with unwanted and undesirable sms (short message service). A cell phone's screen is literally bombarded with those nuisances. Mega offers, bundle offers and various other offers keep gathering and disposing those of from the screen is indeed an extremely vexing exercise. One wonders, if their products were material gifts like mug, glass, bowl or tub or other plastic container.
As for free gifts, what psychology is actually exploited? Is it innate in human nature to receive something free of charge? A kind of gratification of consumerism is accomplished but does it not smack also of easily falling for the cheap? Involved here is a sense of humiliation. When a detergent offers a free plastic tub or a bowl and one collects a number of those, the articles do hardly serve any purpose. Through these ploys business strategies may work but it exposes a subtle unethical mental trait.
When a product's face value is enhanced well beyond any reasonable limit, usually such tactics are taken recourse to. Or else, it is impossible to give away free gift valued at, say, Tk 50 with a product costing Tk 200-220. In fact, the profit margin is big all the time and they have to compete with their rivals. So they announce offers like this. If one additional item is offered free with the purchase of one, it means the company wants to buy the loyalty of the consumers as well. It can afford a far less price tag than is the going price.
This is how companies ---both local and multinationals ---try to fool the consumers. Their free gifts are a temptation for the compulsive shoppers who revel when in super shops they are asked to add a few items to raise the bill to a set target for qualification for some choice items. It indeed is a sight to behold when the madam (usually lady of the house) scratches her head and in desperation asks her consort or even the salesmen or salesgirls for suggesting articles she can add to her tally.
Even in this most critical time of the pandemic, consumers and clients are allured to spend more with offer of free gifts. But why not be generous enough to offer cash or material help for the most needy and vulnerable? There is no need for giving up commercial consideration but at least please do part with some of the proceedings for the humanitarian cause.