In-pack and on-pack promotions spur sales by promising consumers instant gratification right at the store shelf.
But brand marketers know from experience that even simple-looking creative promotions require advance planning and execution.
Ask Marty Ordmann, director of sales promotions and special events at Dole Food Co., Westlake Village, Calif. This summer he traveled to plants in the Pacific Rim to personally supervise the packing of 200 instant-win cans of Dole pineapple products for a holiday promotion now on store shelves.
"Dole makes its own cans. For this promotion we imprinted a winner message inside 200 lids. One of the production people flew with me to the Philippines to can the 200 winning cans with the stamp inside and see that they ran through the production line," he says.
"The cans were shipped back from Asia to the United States, then went to an independent judging organization, Promotion Activators, in Chicago. Those people went to our 11 warehouses and seeded the winning cans proportionately."
Dole's prize-laden pineapple cans are just one element of an elaborate seasonal promotion that ties in with MasterCard International, Purchase, N.Y. It exemplifies how logistics must support any in-pack or on-pack promotion.
Trade support is a key reason brand marketers go with on-packs or in-packs instead of other options. It is easy for retailers to welcome these promotions because they do not create additional clutter in the store, being confined to the packages themselves.
At the same time, their immediacy and positioning at the point of purchase are attractive both to consumers and to retailers, who expect to see a responding bump in sales.
Kodak is currently running an instant coupon on its best-selling multipacks of 35mm film for immediate savings on a simultaneous purchase of selected Disney videos. The promotion is timed to coincide with the release of the "Cinderella" video.
The impetus was the desire to "win the battle for film sales," but also playing a role was Kodak's goal of ensuring retailer support, according to Pete Palermo, associate marketing manager at Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y.
"Being aware that our value pack is the best offer we have, we knew retailers would initially focus on that. This was a great way to deliver the opportunity. It made it much more immediate for consumers and broadened the audience, because not every consumer gets freestanding inserts," Palermo says.
He adds, "It has been great for retailer support. It ensures new film sales, as opposed to the consumer having to dig through drawers for proofs of purchase. It represents a great way to move film off the shelf at the time of promotion."
Says Max Goldberg, vice president of promotions at Disney's Buena Vista Home Video, Burbank, Calif., "We have never done an instant redemption promotion on a major animated release before this one. Focus group research indicates that consumers want instant redemption coupons. They work for the retailer as well as the consumer. We are able to reward the consumer immediately for making a purchase. We worked hard with Kodak in numerous classes of trade to highlight this opportunity."
One unique in-pack promotion in recent months was a public offering of stock in Boston Beer Co., communicated via a business-reply card inserted in six-packs of its superpremium Samuel Adams beer.
Consumers were invited to mail in a check for $495 to buy 33 shares of Boston Beer Co. for $15 a share. The offer, which ran from mid-October through Nov. 9, was oversubscribed. Beer-drinking investors got a good deal, too: The common stock debuted Nov. 21 at a listed price of $20 per share.
The Dole instant-win promotion, running from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, involves a tie-in partnership with MasterCard International, and Dole's canned pineapple and pineapple juice, and boxed raisins and dates, Ordmann says.
Outer labels of the Dole packages bear a bold logo offering $200,000 in prizes from MasterCard. Two hundred winners of $1,000 in traveler's checks are informed by messages imprinted on the inside of can lids or boxes.
Neck hangers, a tried-and-true technique, remain popular and economical for brands big and small. Not only can they provide an incentive for consumers to buy, they also communicate more information than the product label can carry, educating the consumer about product uses.
In a current promotion, Borden Foods Corp., Columbus, Ohio, is offering free eggs or a discount off an egg substitute with purchase of its Cary's sugar-free syrup, using a coupon hung around the neck of the bottle.
This promotion is not designed to be national, but has flexible distribution, says Neil Collins, business director of soups, bouillons and syrups at Borden.
"While Cary's sugar-free syrup is an excellent product from a taste standpoint, it is not a big brand. We needed to do something to call attention to it. The best place to reach the syrup shopper is at the point of purchase. The flag for free eggs gets people to look at our product," Collins says.
Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, also is using a neck hanger in its on-pack promotion on a new line-extension, Crisco Savory Seasonings seasoned vegetable oil. The neck hanger offers recipes and suggested uses for the item.
Dole Pineapple: Under the Lid
Marty Ordmann director of sales promotions and special events Dole Food Co. Westlake Village, Calif.:
We approached MasterCard this summer about doing a promotion. For us it was a way to tie-in with a well-known brand and increase the equity in our promotion. MasterCard is helping with the prize structure.
There were tremendous logistics issues for us to address. Our canned pineapple is packed in the Philippines and Thailand. We have 11 forwarding warehouses. We needed to hold other product [not imprinted for the sweepstakes] and get this out for the holidays.
We have imprinted recipes and coupons on our labels in the past, but those have a very long window for getting out into distribution. What complicated this promotion was trying to control its hitting the market to a couple of weeks. This is the first time we did an instant-win sweepstakes.
In addition, we offered promotion packages to qualifying retailers [who met display requirements], which included a tear-off pad of entry forms for an in-store sweepstakes, with a winner in every store.
Also during the same period, a complementary promotion involving recipe booklets and a mail-in rebate offer tied to multiple purchases of Dole products was offered. The other promotional efforts were also in partnership with MasterCard. The prizes were MasterCard traveler's checks. This promotion was designed by Flair Communications Agency, Chicago.
Kodak Film: Outside the Box
Pete Palermo associate marketing manager Eastman Kodak Co. Rochester, N.Y.:
The Disney coupon program also is featured on Disney's "Cinderella" videocassette cover, along with other promotional partners' offers.
The promotion started with the fact that we wanted to do something with Disney. We have had a long-standing corporate alliance with Disney. We knew "Cinderella" would be released in the fall of 1995 and thought it would be nice to partner with Disney around that time. Kodak became one of their partners. The promotion broke Oct 1.
Partnering with Disney around the holidays makes sense because there is a natural synergy between our companies. We have a similar target audience.
So far, we think we are well on the way to achieving our fourth-quarter objectives.
Kodak worked closely with Disney on the promotion from the ground up. We shared ideas and they helped us fine-tune with their feedback. Disney also lent us the use of one of its illustrators to do creative work for our point of sale.
On the surface it might look like this would be a more expensive way of doing the promotion, but in the long run we feel it will prove to be a much more efficient expenditure of marketing dollars, because we are motivating the immediate purchase of film. The promotion was designed by an internal team and an outside partner, Frankel & Co., Chicago.
Cary's Syrup: Around the Neck
Neil Collins business director, soups, bouillons, and syrups Borden Foods Corp. Columbus, Ohio:
A neck hanger offering something free with purchase is a great option for a brand like Cary's sugar-free syrup, which is not huge but is a great product. It draws attention at retail and it can hold the consumer for a very long time, given how much they should like the product.
The neck hanger worked better than a peel-off coupon because of the configuration of the bottle. We would not want to cover the primary label, front or back, with a peel-off coupon and the shape of the upper part of the bottle would make it relatively difficult to apply a stick-on coupon.
The coupons are hung on the bottles at store level by our broker sales force.
The syrup section can be fairly confusing. We wanted to call attention to our product there at point of purchase. There is no real distribution cost to this method of promotion. Putting neck hangers on the bottles is a lot cheaper than running the same number of freestanding inserts.
We view this as one of our major promotional efforts for the brand.
Most other promotional options would be too expensive for a brand of this size. There is a very certain user that we want. Direct mail would be out of the question for this product. It is low ticket and even lower in terms of how much people spend on this type of product per year.