Today is National Doughnut Day, so off I went to a shop before work to get my daughter some doughnuts. See parts of the queue there when I arrived.
What they are doing is giving one free doughnut, to everyone that queues up. It is dragging people in alright. Doing in a quick calculation with my sister, we calculated putting aside the equipment, which is a fixed cost any way you could get the ingredients from a supermarket that would give you a unit cost of about 30 cents, maybe half that if you took out the jam and sugar. A decent shop because it is dealing in bulk could probably half that cost. So it gives a variable cost to the retailers of somewhere between 7 and 15 cents a person to get them into their store and a bit of smart marketing to drag all these people in. The queue was so big that I walked out as I did not intend to wait that long.
At lunchtime wanting to get some doughnuts to celebrate, one of staff went to a local bakery
Here is what he saw, so he also walked out.
This shows advertising to be useful does not need to be expensive, in this case, all you need to do is select a holiday, here is a good list, that handles a product that you have, and then you promote it for that day. The public is grabbing it up.
E.g. a Pet shop could push on the 4 June- Hug Your Cat Day; a shop that sells cards have several days listed, eg the 6 October - Card Making Day, why not a few different kits to make cards and some special paper to make cards? A pharmacy would have heaps of medical health days.