Working for Free as Promotion

Could working for free be one of the best promotional tools available to an individual or SME?

37signals believes so, saying that their 37Better Project was “one of the best promotional things [they] ever did”. To illustrate their point they also take a look at R.BIRD’s excellent consumer packaging patterns, stating:

If you’re looking to hire a brand design firm, wouldn’t you want to consider a company that likes this stuff enough to do it for free?

And doesn’t this apply to much more than just design (I’m thinking of open source projects, etc.)?

Ben Casnocha goes one further, saying that if you’re looking for work why not reach out and offer to work for free with an idol/hero?