First, he read an article in his local newspaper that reported how food charities were experiencing low donation levels. Not long after that, while out on a family day trip in the city, his son spotted a homeless man on the street and gave him some change. Then, days after that, he talked to a client who wanted to know why certain print advertising formats could be so costly.
Holub has a theory as to how those separate events led to the creation of the new advertising model.
“I’ve been in the advertising and marketing industry for almost thirty years and understand how important advertising can be to the success of a business. I’ve also volunteered my time to different charities and appreciate how critical a steady stream of revenue can be when it comes to supporting those in need.”
He further shares,
“I don’t know how mental processes work but one day I guess my brain somehow combined everything together and that’s how the Freebies 4 Charity concept was born. I mean, who knows how the brain comes up with ideas? But, I do know one thing for certain; if it wasn’t for my son I doubt I would’ve come up with this idea in the first place. He’s an amazing person and inspires us every day.”
Freebies 4 Charity is a simple concept. It combines coupon based direct mail and profit sharing with local charities. First, fourteen advertisements from fourteen local companies are printed onto a large postcard (seven ads on the front and seven on the back) that measures nine inches by twelve inches. Then, anywhere between ten thousand to twenty five thousand of the postcards are mailed to homes located near the businesses that are advertising.
Finally, one third of the profits from the sold ad space on the postcards are donated to a designated charity or charities while the other two thirds are put back into the Freebies 4 Charity project for deployment in other local markets.
Traditional direct mail coupon campaigns feature different models from bogo: a Buy One Get One format, a percentage off format or even a 2 for 1 format. Holub states all these formats are tried and true but traditionally render small returns for advertisers. In the world of direct mail these formats usually yield a one percent conversion when used in any given campaign. A conversion occurs when a consumer who sees the ad buys the product or service depicted in that ad.
Also, the costs can also be prohibitive if a single business advertises to consumers at a rate of ten to twenty five thousand large postcards in one campaign. However, the ad costs come down considerably when they are spread out over fourteen businesses.
In the past, Holub has tested all the traditional ad formats including Free With Purchase sales and discovered Free With Purchase sales convert the best. Depending on the strength of the ad conversions can go up to 20% or even 30%. This is consistent with industry data that states the word “free” is a very powerful motivator in advertising and using it judiciously can boost conversion rates above industry norms.
Mailing coupons and giving to charities is nothing new. However, mailing a giant postcard coupon mailer and donating a portion of the profits to local charities is a new model that helps all parties involved.
When asked to sum up his feelings about his Freebies 4 Charity model Holub offers, “To me it’s all about community. Helping local charities while, at the same time, helping local businesses with the same project is a classic win win. I’m thrilled to see an entire community pulling together for the common good.”