Last Friday night my daughter was invited out to dinner with her boyfriend (heretofore referred to as "The BF") and her boyfriend's family. Later that night they came back to the house and I asked where they had gone for dinner. The BF stated where and I had never heard of that particular restaurant in Mt. Prospect, so when I asked how they chose to eat there, The BF started his response with, "Well, my Dad had a coupon and..." It's not the first time The BF used this particular phrase, either. Apparently, it's sort of a running gag in his family how his dad has a coupon for just about everything.
As a whole, however, I don't think society sees men as coupon users. Most of the advertising for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) is geared towards women simply due to the fact that we generally do most of the shopping for those items. I for one have been in line in front of many a male shopper at the grocery store with a just handful of coupons, when I catch them glaring at me while shifting their weight from one foot to another and sighing quite loudly (as if that's really going to hurry the checkout process along). In any case, my anecdotal experience seems to indicate that not only do men not use coupons, some of them may even look down on those of us who do, excepting of course The BF's dad, let's call him 'Luigi'.
Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. Enough individuals of a certain category of people must have the same reaction or attitude toward any given topic in order for the rest of us to look at them and say, "That's so typical!" Eventually, it becomes a stereotype. Well, today, I'm going to dispel the coupon stereotype on behalf of men everywhere.
Enter the smartphone. Sure paper coupons save money, but they're not cool. But a digital coupon? Now that's high tech! Not only does it eliminate the necessity of having to keep track of a bunch of pieces of random paper and possibly avoid the Costanza Wallet Syndrome, but coupons received as texts or from a mobile advertisment can even encourage a guy to go to the store just to make that purchase! Research [marketingcharts.com] shows that 20% of smartphone users made a trip to the store after receiving an SMS text coupon. This same research shows that adults with degrees are twice as likely to use a coupon than those who didn't graduate high school. And 77% of coupon using adults are shown to live in an urban area. Figure into this that men love gadgets (another stereotype, I know, but show me one who doesn't) and you have a marketing firm's dream target: Males age 25-50, college educated, living in a metro area. According to a Harris Interactive poll, 51% of men have used a coupon in the last 6 months and 18% have told friends about the coupons they used.
So, not only has the use of coupons become acceptable, but some guys are actually bragging about it. This should be music to merchandizers' ears everywhere! Almost 1 out of every 5 males who use a coupon are telling their friends about it? WOW! Now that's what I call viral marketing!
So, Luigi, hats off to you. You're not a penny-pinching, money-saving fuddy duddy. You're a real man!