In- and on-pack promotions can increase brand visibility and customer awareness, create retailer enthusiasm, reward customer loyalty and promote impulse purchases.
But they also can encourage new or additional uses for the brand and promote trial of other products in a company's brand portfolio.
While consumer goods companies often use the product package to offer premiums and cents-off coupons, they're leveraging the strength of one brand's equity to reinforce that of another.
"Marketers are using the high level of household penetration that one product has to get trial of another product," said John Stanton, a professor of food marketing, St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia.
Among the examples currently on supermarket shelves:
Procter and Gamble, Cincinnati. Consumers who purchase an 8.0-ounce package of Crest Fresh Mint toothpaste get a free multi-use sample of Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Vitamin Complex. The sample comes in a separate box shrink-wrapped to the toothpaste.
McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Fort Washington, Pa. Consumers who purchase a 50-caplet box of extra-strength Tylenol get a free 50-count box of Motrin. The free Motrin is shrink-wrapped to the Tylenol.
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Morris Plains, N.Y. Shrink-wrapped to bottles of Lubriderm hand lotion are samples of Lubriderm Skin Renewal Anti-Wrinkle facial lotion (0.35 fluid ounce) and body lotion (0.75 fluid ounce).
Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill. A free in-pack sample pouch of Nabisco Fun Fruits fruit snacks is inside packages of Kraft's Taco Bell Home Original meal kits.
Each of these offers demonstrates the high level of interest in brand-building via in- and on-pack samples.
"Companies that have a large stable of brands can use strong brands to build up the strength of other brands," Stanton noted.
P&G is using the on-pack Olay sample to reach consumers who are demographic targets for both Olay and Crest, according to Tracey Long, communications manager, beauty care, P&G.
"The opportunity here is to be efficient in the way we reach consumers," Long said. "This is a great way to reach new consumers."
Along with attracting new consumers to the Olay brand, the sample rewards its Crest buyers. A multiple-use sample was chosen to provide a "true value" to the Crest purchase, said Long. P&G chose the on-pack route to heighten consumer interest in the product.
"The key is to make it visible so that it's meaningful to consumers and acts as an incentive to purchase Crest," Long said.
Kraft, meanwhile, chose to sample Fun Fruits to add to the interactivity and fun of the Taco Bell meal kit, said Andy Callahan, senior brand manager, Taco Bell Home Originals.
"We are delighting our consumers by extending the fun into dessert," he said.
Another benefit of the promotion is that it capitalizes on the breadth of the Kraft portfolio "in a way that the rest of the category cannot," Callahan said.
"In-pack samples allow us to add value at the point of purchase," Callahan told Brand Marketing.
The Taco Bell brand has used in/on-pack sampling in several other ways over the last year. In addition to the Fun Fruits sample, it offered a free Kraft Racing Team poster at select retailers. It also gave consumers free sample packages of Kraft Easy Mac inside some packages, and a coupon for Kool-Aid Magic Twists on other packages.
The challenge to in/on-pack sampling is developing programs that meet the business objectives of both brands while delighting the consumer, according to Callahan.
"The Fun Fruits promotion capitalizes on Kraft's scale to build both businesses while simultaneously delighting the consumer," Callahan said.
Representatives from Pfizer and McNeil were unavailable for comment.
While some manufactures use successful brands strictly as a source of profit, they should also view them as marketing tools to reinforce the partner brand, said Stanton. "They can use the equity they have in their bigger brands to big equity in lesser brands," he said.
Mark Gallimore, general manager, Gallimore Industries, Lakevilla, Ill., a promotional printer, is a supporter of the strategy. "I've always felt it is a good idea to use one brand to promote another that may not be as strong," he said.
The approach isn't used strictly to build up the strength of a lesser brand. By aligning two brands with similar characteristics, marketers can reinforce the overall quality of their brands, said Karen Renk, executive director, Incentive Marketing Association, Naperville, Ill.
"Companies are leveraging brand names, which is a force in marketing across the board," Renk noted.
The tactic has other benefits as well. While marketers have used in/on-pack promotions successfully for years, they're refining them to increase the value proposition for consumers, said Renk. Offering two products in one package is a way to reward loyal consumers.
"Consumer expectations are greater in a down economy in terms of the value they are receiving in a product," Renk said.
To add value to a product purchase, some marketers are even cross promoting their own brands with those from other manufacturers. Rexall Sundown, Boca Raton, Fla., a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Numico, did just this recently for an in-pack offer for Pokemon vitamins.
A booklet containing about 10 coupons worth a total of $15 was inserted into packages of Pokemon vitamins. Face values ranged from $1 to $3. Each coupon could be used for a product manufactured by a Pokemon licensee. Partners included Colgate, Golden Books, Pioneer and Scholastic.
"We're trying to appeal to the fact that kids who like Pokemon vitamins are also apt to want other Pokemon products," Dawn Foster, brand manager, Rexall Sundown, told Brand Marketing.
This was one of the first times that Art Averbook, president of Co-Op Promotions, Hollywood, Fla., has seen a group of licensees working together. Co-Op Promotions is the sales promotion company that handled Rexall's Pokemon coupon offer.
Averbook predicts there will be more of these types of cooperative efforts because they help marketers maximize the use of their licenses.
"Companies pay a lot for their licenses; they want to get a return on investment," he said.
Rexall Sundown uses in-packs in a variety of ways to generate additional excitement among mothers and children. Currently on supermarket shelves is an in-pack offer of one of 80 holographic Pokemon "action flipz" cards. The promotion will run through the back-to-school season.
"In-pack offers let our consumers interact with the brand. That doesn't happen with advertising," Foster said.