Vaccine freebies may not be incentives (but people like them)

Free goodies related to vaccines may not increase the actual vaccine rate… but help stores drive traffic.


June 4, 2021

Since announcing it would give free donuts to any adult with a vaccination card, Krispy Kreme has given away 1.5m fried treats.

Several other companies and even governments have followed suit:

  • Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery will award $1m to 5 vaccinated adults and full-ride scholarships to 5 Ohioans ages 12-17.
  • Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in Vegas and New Orleans have held vaccine clinics with perks including free booze and dances from vaccinated performers.
  • Free beer is a popular incentive among towns and beer brands, including Budweiser, Sam Adams, and Erie County, New York.

But do these incentives work?

Most likely… no. Health data doesn’t reflect much of a surge in vaccination rates, per ABC News. And health experts who spoke with the news outlet don’t think the incentives alone would motivate vaccine holdouts.

But a poll from data intelligence company Morning Consult found that while they might not increase vaccination, incentives don’t hurt a business’ brand:

  • 57% of adults said they’d be no more likely to get vaxxed due to an incentive
  • 41% of adults said they’d view a brand that offered freebies more favorably while only 17% said they’d view a brand less favorably

Plus, freebies often encourage customers to buy other stuff.

Comic book shops have seen a rise in sales on Free Comic Book Day. And despite giving away 4.5m free Slurpees on July 11, 2011, 7-Eleven saw a 38% increase in Slurpee sales that day.

In the mood for a donut now? Krispy Kreme will keep at it all year long.

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