A Brief History Of Coupons

Most people love a good coupon as they give you something for less. While we are familiar with coupons and use them often, you might not know about their history. The history of coupons dates back to the 1800s with the first ever coupon being made by Coca-Cola.

The First Coupon

It has widely been agreed that the first coupon was made and distributed by Coca-Cola. In 1887, Coke was being sold in pharmacies in Atlanta, but there was a need to drive sales. To do this, the company contacted pharmacies and offered them 2 gallons of Coke for the names and addresses of customers who lived near them.

The names and addresses were then used for direct marketing with the company sending a coupon to the people. The coupon gave the person one free glass of Coke. This was the start of the classic direct mailing strategy that we know about today.

The Next Coupons

The second ever coupon took a while to come out after Coca-Cola’s hit the market. It was in 1909 when Post distributed a coupon for a penny off Grape-Nuts cereal. After this, the use of coupons would increase to the point where the Nielsen Coupon Clearing House was created.

This was the first company to be dedicated to coupon redemption. It served as a middleman between the retailers and manufacturers and made it easier for everyone to implement coupons. This company is still around today as part of NCH Marketing Services.

The Evolution Of Coupons

By 1968, Valpak was created by Terry Loebel. These are the little blue envelopes with coupons for services in local areas. The original product was created in Loebel’s garage.

In 1972, the first Free-Standing Insert for coupons was introduced. The original concept was known as flag-wavers because the coupons are separated on the side and would wave in the air like a flag. This concept is still in use and a lot of people still use them because they get their coupons from the Sunday circular.

After this date, coupons became a more common part of life. They became so integrated that in 1997 the US celebrated their first ever National Coupon Month. The creation of the holiday was to bring awareness to consumers about the value of using coupons. September was chosen as the month for this, but Brown from NCH states that this was a bit haphazard.