By NBF News

PRIOR to the emerging trend, promos were mainly used by merchandisers especially in foods, clothing, beverages, telecoms and other consumables.

However, the tide has changed: real estate, banking, airlines, insurance, media and even schools have all engaged the strategic marketing tools by way of giving branded valuables such as cars, motorcycles, refrigerators amongst others as gift in return for customers' patronage.

Remember that hysterical 'Re-gifting' episode of Seinfeld? We have all been down that road before. Many consumers have been a 'victim' of this thoughtless gift from these organisations. While some are giving with the aim of advertising their brands or products, others actually see it as corporate social responsibility tie around sales promotion.

Almost all the organisations that involve in giving cars as gifts during a promotional sales campaign are guilty of thoughtless gift syndrome.

However, Access Bank with its Access Take the Lead promo prizes of brand new Peugeot 407 cars has raisen the bar in the industry bedeviled with tactless gift. While others are wrapping up their gifts with their corporate identity, Access Bank has given 15 out of 25 Peugeot 407 executive cars unbranded.

Explaining why the bank is not concern about using the gifts as communication tools, Chinwe Uzoho, Head, Product Research and Development, Access Bank, said, 'We see our promos as corporate social responsibility and we do not have right to advertise it because those that won merited them.'

More importantly, she pointed out that since the cars are no longer belonged to them, there is no reason why Access Bank logo and brand name should be on it. 'In Access Bank, we don't give with ulterior motives like using the gift to communication the brand essence and is like calling some one to your house for dinner then after the dinner you go broadcasting that you have given the person food for a day. We don't do that at Access Bank,' she emphasised.

The thoughtless gift strategy is now in vogue and virtually all big brands are guilty. Media has also joined the bandwagon. Some media houses that use the car as star prize have these cars won but with their logos adorning these vehicles.

However, it is understandably why many of these brands are toeing this line. There are several benefits from employing a corporate branding strategy which a corporation can exploit. First of all, a strong brand including a corporate brand is no less or more than the face of the business strategy hence portraying what the corporation aims at doing and what it wants to be known for in the marketplace.

Analysts have criticized this thoughtless gift strategy particularly with the heavily regulated out-of-home industry where vehicles with corporate logos and identities are heavily taxed. They posit that Access Bank has actually created a new way of giving. 'If any company must give through promo, it should do that devoid of intention to advertise it product or service because when the consumer purchases that goods he or she never want advertising,' Shina Oyeleye, a brand communication specialist said.

Mr. Samuel Numomoipre Samuel, one of the winners in the last draw said, 'Access Bank has actually thought others how to give, I may tell anyone I bought this car and no one will doubt it. It's time for other corporate entities to borrow a leaf from the Access Bank's new art of giving.'