A Sign of the Times: Coupons Are Back in Fashion

05 December 2008

NEW YORK: 'Cometh the time, cometh the … coupon', to paraphrase some bard or another. It's a truism that cents-off coupons prosper when the economy flags and right now it's looking good for coupons.

So much so that the planet's largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, has opened a temporary store on Manhattan's West 57th Street named BrandSaver where coupons for its plethora of brands are available along with opportunities to sample products like Pantene

P&G is also producing a retail version of BrandSaver, the coupon booklets that the company inserts in Sunday newspapers fourteen  times yearly.

Jim Leish, director for North American commercial operations at P&G rah-rahs it for coupons as "an effective trial and awareness vehicle" – a fact that was par for the mainstream marketing course as far back as the 1950s and beyond.

But in the heady days that followed the turn of the century when twenty cents-off was so much dust in the wind, coupons became definitely démodé.

Now the hard times are back and the wheel has turned full circle.

As Lance Saunders, evp/head of account planning at Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis aptly puts it: "Thrift is the new normal. There's no stigma to getting anything on discount. Instead, there's a sense of pride."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff