Over on her awesome site, Johanna Draper Carlson brings attention to a comic shop which is choosing a different approach to Free Comic book Day. Instead of giving away free comics, they are giving away free cookies!
Johanna (Ms. Draper Carlson if you prefer) takes issue with the first line of the ad. “Yeah, that’s a great teaser to get people into your COMIC BOOK store — call comics ‘lame ads’.” I am not going to argue, rage, or flame her for her opinion. I happen to agree with her that the last thing the comic industry needs right now is any more bad press or mudslinging.
But I think she is missing the point.
This is a comic shop that is trying something different. More importantly, this is a comic shop that is doing something different that will bring the general public in to the store. Most people are not going to accept something for free that they do not regularly consume in the first place. For example, I do not belong to a gym, so offering me a free turn on the dumbbells on a particular day of the week is not going to make me rush to my nearest gym to try them out. It is not even going to get me to try them out if I am walking down the street and pass by a gym.
But who can resist a cookie?
People love food. People will be willing to stand in line for free samples. A full 53% of the pleasure if visiting CostCo is getting the free food samples. Why not tie free food in to comics? It gets people in the door. It gets them looking around. And it is a universal attractor. It is not something specialized that you must already be predisposed to want. You must want comics to accept free comics. You but only smell the cookies to want one.
So, the smell of the cookies gets the potential customer in the door. Tie consumption of the cookie puts them in a favorable mood. Now they can peruse the comic selection. It sounds like there will be deals galore at the aforementioned store. Instead of being out several comics which they had to pay for, the shop is out a cookie or two (which they had to bake). But, speaking from experience, at the end of the day it is much easier to get rid of a stock of chocolate chip cookies than it is to get rid of a stock of Free Comic book Day comics.
My only complaint is that, according to the original post, this does not sound like an exemplary store in terms of cleanliness and presentability. While I cannot speak for the store in question, I think it behooves everyone involved to make sure that all shops put their best foot forward for FCBD.
I will be taking my kids around to several shops in Portlandia this year for FCBD. We always go to meet the creators and do some shopping. Hopefully this year someone will read this post and I will be greeted with a plate of fresh cookies.
Note: Snickerdoodles are my favorite.