Selling coupons, buying loyalty
Some months ago I was talking to a friend who told me that when he used to work booths (he's quite a freedom activist), he would sometimes sell brochures and handouts instead of giving them for free. People passing by could read them there free or charge, but if they wanted to take it home, they would have to pay. It would be a small fee, like 25 cents or some other small amount. But the idea here was not to make a profit, but to create interest. The claim my friend made was that by selling them for a small fee, they would perhaps have a higher tendency to read them before throwing them away. Thus, if you're at a show and pick up 100 pamphlets, chances are that you'll get rid of most, and the one you pay for would be thrown away last, or not at all.
Yesterday I went to a local outlet mall and saw that, in the restroom/mall office area, there was a vending machine that exclusively sold a book of coupons for the mall for $3. Selling coupons, then, is like the example above. When you buy a coupon, you are making yourself more likely to return to the outlet mall and shop again.
It would be interesting to somehow compare the efficiency (how many make it back to the stores) of those $3 coupon booklets against those that are delivered to one's homes free of charge.