Story originally appeared on USA Today.
Many consumers hate Tax Day, so marketers can come off as heroes when they offer freebies or deals to help folks deal with the stress.
Tax Day isn't just a pain in the wallet. It also sucks up gobs of time and emotions.
Which explains why so many marketers are embracing it as a day when they can play the hero with acts of kindness — such as handing out freebies. Big names from Arby's to Office Depot will be doling out everything from Tax Day snacks to free printing. Even Trojan — yes, that Trojan — is getting in the Tax Day freebie mix.
Most of the Tax Day freebies and deals have social-media tie-ins that require some sort of coupon.
"People hate Tax Day," says Erika Napoletano, brand strategist with RHW Media. "If a brand can come across as the good guy, the brand wins. It's all about audiences feeling as if they're understood."
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Some Tax Day promos are freebies — others are deals. Some are limited to April 15, while others stretch through the whole month of April. (Please check brand Facebook pages or websites for details). Among this year's goodies:
- Snacks. Great American Cookies will hand out thousands of its new birthday cookies to lure consumers to stores "on a day they might not have planned to go," says Jenn Johnston, marketing chief.
Bruegger's Bagels will sell a box of 13 bagels for $10.40 (a "deduction" of nearly $3.50 per box). Last year, it sold more than 10,000 of the Big Bagel Bundles, says Judy Kadylak, director of marketing.
Arby's will hand out free Value Curly Fries or free Potato Cakes. It expects to redeem 34,000 coupons, says Bob Kraut, senior vice president of brand marketing.
Boston Market will sell a two-fer of its new rib meals for $10.40. (Essentially, one meal is free.) The name for it: We Love the IRS (Incredible Rib Special) program.
Cinnabon will hand out two free, bite-size Cinnabon Bites per customer. Last year more than 60,000 were given out. "We want to get the word out on our lesser-known treats," says President Kat Cole.
- Printing. Consumers can print up to 25 black-and-white pages and do up to 5 pounds of shredding for free at Office Depot. When folks stop by, it also hopes to sell them file folders, storage boxes and shredders, notes Randy Wick, vice president of merchandising.
- Massages. HydroMassage is offering freebie 10- to 15-minute massages at hundreds of fitness centers. "People need the stress relief" at tax season, says Paul Lunter, president.
- Sexual aids. No one has a wackier Tax Day stunt than Trojan, which will hand out Trojan vibrators (worth up to $39.99) at "Pleasure Carts" in San Francisco and Los Angeles, says Bruce Weiss, vice president of marketing. "It's a stimulus package they will never forget."