People take handbills because they feel sorry for the distributors, a study finds People who accept handbills on the street are most likely to do so out of sympathy for the distributors, according to a university study - although some admit accepting the ads because they like the looks of the people handing them out. The recent survey by the Hong Kong Baptist University's marketing department showed that 63 per cent of those who accepted handbills did so to help the distributors finish their job quickly. The department's Gerard Prendergast and Yuen Sze-man interviewed 240 people about their behaviour when handed a flyer. They found that 174, or 73 per cent, normally accepted handbills. 'This result showed that Hong Kong people are very kind-hearted indeed,' said Dr Prendergast, an associate professor of marketing. 'However, by being friendly to distributors, many of them are not being friendly to the environment.' He said 28 per cent of those who took handbills discarded them without even reading them. 'But many of them told me they only discard them when the distributor can't see them - Hong Kong people are very considerate,' he said. About 30 per cent of those who accepted handbills said they did so for the possibility of coupons and gift offers being attached to the bill. The attractive layout and colour of flyers were also a factor 'but it isn't just about the handbill', said Dr Prendergast. He said 13 per cent of those who accepted flyers said they did so sometimes because they found the distributors attractive. 'If the manufacturer is trying to promote a product aimed at the female market, it may be effective to have a handsome young lad distributing the handbills,' said Dr Prendergast. The research also found that 60 per cent of those likely to accept handbills were female. Younger people were more likely to accept flyers, with 95 per cent of interviewees younger than 20 saying they did not mind receiving handbills. Only 63 per cent of interviewees aged above 40 said they normally accepted handbills. Dr Prendergast said handbill distribution was a popular means of advertising in the city because of its high population density. 'There are very few advertising spaces left in Hong Kong,' he said.