Premium & Supplement

Premiums and supplements, which are still an important part of advertising campaigns and sales promotion activities today, were popular in the latter half of the Edo period, mainly in the form of nishiki-e and other printed materials. In particular, keibutsuhon (“premium books”) were issued for store openings and special sales, and those produced by comic fiction writers were especially popular.
In the Meiji period, the introduction of new printing technology led to an increase in the variety of premiums and supplements, while the advent of mass media quickly extended their reach. Newspapers and magazines, which were the new media of that time, aimed to expand subscribers and gained popularity by adding sugoroku, nishiki-e, and photographs as supplements. The Murai Bros. Co., Ltd. also created a boom in “cigarette cards,” which were popular in Europe and the United States at the time, by including them in their products.
From the Taisho period onward, premiums and supplements for children grew more diverse, and Glico's “Omake” in particular became a long-running hit that continues to this day.
One cause behind the expansion of premiums was the creation of a homogenous mass society over the course of the Taisho and Showa periods. Premiums are a form of sales promotion that is familiar and puts a little fun into people's daily lives.

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