Free Travel Mug When You Buy A Hoveround… Seriously

I recently saw one of the most absurd things I think I’ve ever seen to market a product on one of those wonderfully informative TV infomercials. If you buy a Hoveround you get a travel mug absolutely free! Just imagine, when you’re about to go ride your Hoveround down the side walk to your favorite store you can fill up your travel mug and take a drink with you.

It could be a tasty home made latte, a diet or regular soda or, if you want to be really thrifty, you can put water in that free travel mug you received with your purchase. I’m even going to bet that your free Hoveround travel mug will fit perfectly in your Hoveround cup holder… at least there better be one for this awesome product pairing!

All sarcasm aside, what in the world were these marketing executives thinking when they came up with this marketing promotion? Better yet, what in the world were the people who bought a Hoveround for a free travel mug thinking? Let’s investigate the first question before we get to the more absurd second question.

What the Marketing Executives Were Thinking

This travel mug likely costs Hoveround less than $5 so if it sold just 1 additional unit it was more than worth it to them. In fact, they could cover the cost of 599 travel mugs by selling just one Hoveround at $2,995. If the customer buys a more expensive model they could pay for even more travel mugs! Throwing in something this cheap is a no brainer for the Hoveround executives.

In addition to that they got some free advertising out of it. Notice how it was so outrageous I’m blogging about it? How many people do you think told their friends about this crazy stupid offer? I bet I wasn’t the only one…

What Were the People Who Bought a Hoveround Just for a Travel Mug Thinking?

To be honest, they weren’t. That is the only possible answer for it if they bought the Hoveround solely because of the free travel mug offer. Now if they were going to buy one anyway it does make sense to take advantage of this awesomely amazing offer. I mean, wouldn’t you want a free travel mug too?

If the travel mug pushed you over the edge and made you pull the trigger I personally would love to talk to you about your decision. You just paid at least $2,995 for a power wheelchair to get a $5 travel mug. I’d like to reiterate that you could have bought 599 travel mugs for the price of one Hoveround.

The absolute worst case I could see happening with this promotion is if someone got Medicare to pay for the Hoveround and the only reason the person wanted it was the free travel mug… If this is the case we have some serious problems.

The Lesson

Just because you are getting something for free for buying something else doesn’t mean it is a good deal. Would you buy a car if I gave you $500? I bet you have to pay full MSRP to get the $500 but it has to work on someone or else they wouldn’t pull these stunts. Think before you buy and evaluate the whole package for what it is, not for the free thing you happen to get with the purchase that seems really cool.

Have you ever fallen victim to a similar offering or do you have another hilarious story? This example was much easier to see due to the hilarity but there are smaller similar offers all the time! Share your story below to help us all watch out for these tricks!

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. That’s awesome! I wouldn’t waste my mug on WATER! Water? Heck, if I’m wheeling down the street, I’m going to fill that baby with my favorite foamy beverage. That way, I can share some with all the ladies who think “Wow, look at that hot dude on a Hoveround!”

  2. This is great! It’s just like when I bought my first computer nearly 20 years ago and the salesman thought it was awesome he could “give” me a free mouse pad for all the money I just spent.

  3. If a free mug gets you to buy a $3K item, there is something wrong with you! Frankly, I do not understand that kind of marketing. It would take far more to persuade me to buy a hoveround vs. a competing brand.

  4. There used to be ads for those things that promised they would be free to you (Medicare/Medicaid would pick up the tab…) If that’s the case, then perhaps a mug has slightly more of an impact.

  5. Veronica @ Pelican on Money says:

    This is the most ridiculous, stupid marketing tactic I’ve ever heard of. They should spend some money on writing a good copy instead. “Hoveround – lets you move again!”

  6. This ad is hilarious. Often on shopping tvs they charge you double retail price to get “one plus one free”.

  7. Ornella @ Moneylicious says:

    That was a little odd…a travel mug? I can get one for under $5 at Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or another discount store. Who were they kidding? I guess it was seen as thank you gesture.

  8. But can I buy two and get TWO FREE TRAVEL MUGS?! That’s what I want to know!

  9. Nice! That doesn’t sound like a very good deal. Hopefully nobody bought a Hoveround just for the travel mug =-)

  10. Mandy @MoneyMasterMom says:

    silly marketer! But they wouldn’t use the free gift approach if it wasn’t proven successful previously. I know someone that bought a new car, instead of a used car ($6000 less and only 10000miles) because the new car came with a years worth of oil changes. Silly silly lady!

  11. SOLD! But you also have to throw in the pin striping- at a reasonable cost!


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