Notebooks and juice boxes may be backpack staples, but they don't often share display space in supermarkets during the back-to-school shopping season. Why? Retailer category managers are inclined to protect their turf, and school supply manufacturers don't always see the benefit.
"[The manufacturers'] perspective is, 'I'm going to get display anyway,"' said Caren Berlin, a youth marketer.
Nevertheless, cross-category promotions are popping up with more frequency as packaged goods makers look for ways to leverage their enlarged product offerings. "Manufacturers are more and more tying their wider portfolios to break through at retail," said Joel Chestler, a vice president at Ryan Partnership, Wilton, Conn., a consulting firm for manufacturing companies like Campbell's and Unilever.
The result is more multi-brand sales at supermarkets. A recent ad from A&P, Montvale, N.J., offered shoppers $5 off school supplies when they buy five products from Kraft's family of brands; a Price Chopper, Schenectady, N.Y., ad promoted a $2 coupon for school supplies in exchange for a purchase of eight Campbell's products. Kraft also co-produced a back-to-school freestanding insert this year with Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, Mich., that promoted general merchandise and food items. Creating a separate insert improved the ad's exposure, said Dave Somerset, Spartan's director of marketing.
"The manufacturer was extremely pleased with sales. It got a lot of positive feedback from the store level," he said.
In a promotion at Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, shoppers who bought three items from the Kellogg brand family and two Sanford/PaperMate products could get a register coupon for $5 off their next shopping trip.
Berlin's company, Gold N Fish, Armonk, N.Y., is working on a joint promotion between chocolate maker Cadbury and the Mead paper company for the 2005-2006 school year. "Cross promotion, I think, is happening, but I think it could be happening at a higher level," she said.