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Do freebies pay off for businesses?

By By JOLEEN FERRIS

(WKTV) - Mohawk Valley Community College Professor Arthur Friedberg saw some of his students in the crowd on a television news story when Denny's Restaurants were giving away free Grand Slam breakfasts earlier this month.

The marketing ploy could have provided real-life subject matter for one of Friedberg's business classes.

"I think any time an established business resorts to this type of a marketing technique, it might suggest times are really bad," says Friedberg.

Friedberg says the fact that the restaurants weren't introducing a new product, but rather, giving away one of their trademarks, says alot about the sad state of an abysmal economy.

"Because under normal circumstances, a company that's well known already shouldn't have to be giving away something to attract more business but in economic hard times, you resort to more drastic measures to bring customers in."

Did the gamble pay off?

The answer to that question surprised even the Herkimer Denny's manager.

"It's been very good. I really didn't think giving away free food would work, but it did. And we've been busier on just about every shift. It helped," says manager Kristin Vivyan.

It's not only goods, but services that are being given away. Tanning Bed locations have been giving away free tanning all week. That promotion ends Saturday, so they'll have to wait a little longer to see if the gamble paid off.

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