One of the forums I post to on behalf of one of our companies is a forum about selling decorated garments like t-shirts. A lot of the people on that forum often talk about giving away samples of their t-shirts in hopes that people will wear them. Some just give the garments away randomly.
Whenever I see these posts I always try to impress on the OP that giving away merchandise can work, if you give it away to the right people. If you can get your clothes on people who influence buying decisions it could make a difference in your sales. If you don't, than you've just given away merchandise for nothing.
Do the rest of you give product away in hopes of reaching influential people? Do you do research before you give something away to try to determine where your best benefit would be?