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Ever bought something based on celebrity advice? Or at least wanted to buy something? Of course, we all have, because that's what makes advertising so successful.

I read something interesting on the web the other day that talked about the "Obama effect." Where Oprah effects sales on books, Michelle Obama effects fashion and retail prices. Interesting.

Harvard Business Review has done a complete study on the factors and calculates that she made companies over $2.7 billion just for wearing their clothes! That's pretty incredible market influence.

Then there's the "freebie." Something I never quite understood myself. Why would companies bother to give products away when they can charge for them?

Especially when I know people who only go to malls to get the free samples! They never actually buy any merchandise. As a Bostonian, I also remember the annual Baskin-Robbins' feast: free ice cream while it lasts. I'm not sure that it actually makes people go out and buy their ice cream. Or give it a particular preference when that craving sets in.

The only thing I can think of is: market influence. It keeps already loyal customers that much more loyal. People who eat Baskin-Robbins' ice cream anyway must think it's an added bonus when their beloved ice cream makers give them some for free. Plus, if they manage to convert a new customer, all the better for them.

My love is sports clothes. And I can tell you, if Nike ever starts giving away free sweatsuits, sneakers and jackets, I will be the first in line!

To end on a sweet note, all you have to do is click here if you want to know which companie are giving away freebies right now and how to get them.

For more on the retail community and jobs in this field visit retailgigs.


By: Larisa Redins

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