Freebies sure are popular these days.
Today's Election Day, and if there wasn't incentive enough to vote, several companies are giving away stuff in order to make the expected long lines worth it. USA Today published an article on the topic, but there are several sites that list all the places that are giving out products. Most are food-related (Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's, Chick-Fil-A, Krispy Kreme), but you can even get a flu vaccination.
Ice cream joints and Starbucks have promotional days often, meant to entice new customers to the store and hope they'll purchase something in conjunction with the item or come back. This has never worked for me, since I'm not the type that's gonna go out and buy coffee and ice cream often. Most of these campaigns are spread word-of-mouth, often assisted from viral videos, ads on Facebook and the occasional New York Times placement. They generate great buzz (see Kevin's entry below), but do these promotions directly translate to sales?
The funniest part of the whole "Giveaway-It's Election Day!" mentality is that it's actually against federal law to provide monetary incentives to get people to vote. Whoops! So now you don't even need to vote to pick up a free cup of coffee.
It's a good thing I don't need to show proof, since my polling place doesn't have stickers...
Note: Most of the stores listed don't have locations anywhere nearby...boo.