Estée Lauder and the Origins of the Free Gift with Purchase

Have you ever taken advantage of a “free gift with purchase” deal at a beauty counter? You have Estée Lauder to thank.

Back in 1959, lacking the money to advertise in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Estée Lauder herself came up with a clever marketing strategy to get people to makeup counters: giving customers a free product when they made a purchase. She felt it was the most honest way of advertising because you can try the product yourself and discover how good the quality is so you’ll want to buy it.

Originally made in 1957 as part of the Beauty of the Month Club promotion, the brand gifted a light blue powder compact at counters starting in 1959. It continued to be part of the Gift with Purchase sets in the 1960s and early ‘70s. Yahoo Beauty was granted exclusive access to the Estée Lauder archives so we could photograph this special compact. Click through our slideshow for more background on this unique item in beauty history.


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