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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning on free giveaway contests being sponsored by various food companies as a way “to stretch their marketing dollars during the recession. Contestants also tend to brag about the sport of entering free food contests, something that's easier than ever with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter,” which then spreads the marketing message even more.

Some examples:

• Denny’s is running a “Grand Slam for a Year" promotion, in which winners “can order 52 servings of a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast, or two eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausage links and two pancakes. That's a stack of pancakes four feet high, with 17,680 calories, not counting the syrup.” Some 600,000 people have entered the contest, two-thirds of whom have joined the company’s loyalty marketing program.

• “Subway in February announced a food giveaway to promote its ‘Five Dollar Footlong’ sandwich. In it, 71 winners will win free sandwiches for a year, amounting to a $260 gift card. Subway was able to add 400,000 customers to its marketing database with the promotion, says Tony Pace, the company's chief marketing officer.”

• “Krispy Kreme offers a dozen free doughnuts a week for a year to the first customer at new store openings. The next 11 customers get one dozen free doughnuts a month for a year, but the terms vary by location.”
KC's View:
Denny’s and Krispy Kreme, at least, ought to throw in free cholesterol testing and maybe free bypass operations as a grand prize.