The History of Coupons

We now live in a fast paced world where convenience and everything is at our fingertips. By just easily tapping a button on an iPad or clicking a mouse on a laptop we can easily find things then buy those things through an online store plus have them delivered quickly and conveniently too.

It is always good to know how things started. Take for example how coupons actually started. This tiny invention has helped to save consumers billions of dollars, infact $3.6 billion in these 2014 report! Don’t worry as they have also helped to make companies billions of dollars too. Do you know who was the first business to use it publicly? Let’s take a fascinating look into the history of the coupon code.

Coca Cola Invents the First Coupon

Yup good old coke were the first ones. We all know how strong the brand and marketing is from the team at coke headquarters, well it looks like they have had to keep that tradition.

What did the original coupon look like and what could you redeem?

Coca-Cola original coupon from 1888

19th century Coca-Cola coupon” by Coca-Cola – Scanned by uploader from Wired (Nov 2010), Vol. 18, No. 11, p. 104.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

The genius idea was to help people claim a free glass of coca-cola if they brought the printed coupon in. Well it worked very well as 8.5 million tickets had been used by 1913. Not bad for mass marketing in the 1800’s I’d say.

The advertising man credited with this idea was Asa Candler. An early investor in the company too.

Timeline of Important Events

History of Coupons Infographic

Image Source:

Love that infographic 🙂

Here are some important dates, milestones and influential people to take note of in the coupon marketing industry:

1887: Cokes’ “This Card Entitles you to a Free Glass of Coca-Cola” is launched.
1909: The second ever printed coupon card is distributed for Grape-Nuts cereal.
1957: Nielsen Coupon Clearing House is started (now apart of NCH Marketing) helped to invent the technology at the time to manage coupon redemption between the consumer and retailers.
1968: Terry Loebel starts a coupon distribution and promotion company called Valpak rom his garage.
1972: Printer George F. Valassis invents the first cooperative free-standing insert what is our standard grocery coupon distribution system of cards the Sunday Circular.
1995: Mandlik & Rhodes is started as competition to NCH Marketing.
1997: September 1997 is declared the first ever “National Coupon Month”
2010: Target Corporation introduces the first mobile coupon option for customers. Also this year Extreme Couponing TV Show is launched on TLC and makes Joanie Demer & Heather Wheeler ( internet marketing superstars overnight.
2011: We see the start of the online store for Bulletproof Coffee and other health products promoted by Dave Asprey.
2013: According to figures “92% of Americans shop with coupons”. That same year is launched to help promote Bulletproof Exec products.
2014: The biggest bulletproof coffee promo code website is rebranded into to help further promote more biohacking, High Fat-Low Carb diet and brain performance supplements, devices and health products.
2015: Millenials use more digital coupons with 89% of millenial parents using coupons when planning their shopping list according to an article in


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