Continental cousin or creative conqueror?

The promotional marketing council of Europe has compiled the best 40 sales promotion campaigns across Europe. The UK alone has eight entries, so does this make us the capital of creativity on the Continent? asks Jeremy Stern

The UK sales promotions industry may be congratulating itself after the MCCA and ISP Awards (respectively, Marketing Communications Consultants Association and Institute of Sales Promotion) but how does our creativity in promotions compare to that in the rest of Europe?

A new publication from the Promotional Marketing Council of Europe has reviewed over 1,500 award-winning promotions from nine member countries and come up with a list of the top 40 campaigns over the past six years. The PMC (formerly known as the European Federation of Sales Promotion) represents national sales promotion trade associations – such as the UK’s ISP – on European issues and lobbying.

The UK has eight entries out of the 40 selected, with Triangle being the only agency to gain two entries, one for its Tango creation, the other for Barclays Bank. However, the UK does not have a monopoly on creativity, and the list shows several other countries, notably Spain and Belgium, capable of delivery high-quality, innovative promotions despite operating within tougher regulatory environments. Because more leading agencies are becoming part of European and international networks, there is a greater need for agencies to share ideas, innovations and inspiration.

On the following pages, the eight UK award-winning campaigns are shown, with a precis of why the judges chose that particular campaign.

Jeremy Stern is vice chairman of the PMC. The PMC is a member council of the European Association of Communication Agencies;

The full collection of 40 winning campaigns is available in the publication “Promotions Without Frontiers” priced at £10, and is available by mail-order from the ISP, Arena House, 66-68 Pentonville Road, London N1 9HS Tel: 020 7837 5340.

PMC/EFSP Top 40 Sales Promotions: The Eight UK Award Winners


Category: Non-alcoholic Beverage

Year: 2000

Award: Gold and Best of the Best

Agency: Triangle Client: Britvic

Brand: Tango Soft Drink Campaign: Tango Time

With its market share under pressure, Britvic needed strong activity to support its range of flavoured carbonated drinks during the crucial summer season of 1999. Short leadtimes meant that printing on the packaging was not possible, so Tango organised the first on-pack promotion to be run off-pack. It involved a joint campaign with the Daily Mirror and Daily Record newspapers (3 million readers) and local radio stations (2 million listeners). Every day, a winning Tango Time code was promoted in the newspapers and on the stations. Consumers had to match this Tango Time number with the production code printed on their can. Those with matching numbers could claim one of a number of unusual prizes: a garden shed full of Tango, a second honeymoon, a garden gnome, or a game of crazy golf, including a model to carry the clubs.

Tango’s market share increased 11 per cent and volumes were up 15 per cent on the same period the previous year. This campaign was elected Best of the Best in 2000 by the EFSP jury, who loved its high level of creativity, the unusual range of prizes and the clever mechanism used to run the promotion.


Category: Non-alcoholic Beverage

Year: 2001

Award: Gold

Agency: Mustard (UK) Client: Coca-Cola

Brand: Coca-Cola Campaign: Coke Auction (UK)

In a promotion aimed at young people (15to 25-year-olds), Coca-Cola organised the first internet-based interactive promotion of its kind: a cash-free online auction where consumers convert proofs of purchase (ring pull/labels) into “auction credits”. These could then be used to bid for more than 80,000 items and experiences that were selected to meet the needs and wants of teenagers – involving music, cinema, sport, fashion, travel, holidays and experiences.

Significant mass-media advertising, internet banners and in-store and street events helped to boost awareness of the promotion and generate a huge number of visits to the site – over 1 million – plus registrations and interactions were more than the number forecast.

The EFSP jury believe this campaign is the biggest, most innovative and efficient use of the internet in sales promotion history.

John Smith’s Bitter

Category: Alcoholic Beverage

Year: 2002

Award: Silver

Agency: Carlson Marketing Client: Scottish Courage

Brand: John Smith’s Campaign: No Nonsense Raffle

John Smith’s Extra Smooth is the number one bitter in the UK and has used the selling line of “No Nonsense Attitude” as the basis for its communication for several years. To develop its leading position further, John Smith’s launched the “No Nonsense Raffle” in pubs across the country. One raffle ticket was issued with every pint purchased, so the more pints you bought the greater your chances of winning. The first prize in the raffle was a pint of John Smith’s Extra Smooth. But for those unfortunate enough not to win the first prize there were consolation prizes, including a £50,000 Jaguar XK Car and a £15,000 Caribbean Cruise.

Over 13 million raffle tickets were distributed in 2,444 pubs and 2.8 million people (20 per cent) redeemed their winning tickets for a pint of John Smith’s.

The EFSP jury thought the promotion helped to make the product the “hero” of the campaign and did it in an innovative, humorous and iconoclastic approach that achieved great sale success.


Category: Petfood

Year: 2002

Award: Gold

Agency: KLP Euro RSCG Client: Nestlé Purina

Brand: Bonio Campaign: Tug Toy

Bonio wanted to educate consumers about the teeth-cleaning benefits of its dog biscuits and so created in-pack games cards offering a top prize of £10,000. Consumer had to scratch a dog’s teeth motif on the card with a Bonio biscuit – replicating how Bonio works to reduce plaque and tartar – to reveal the winning card. The game card also featured a 20p off next purchase coupon and the chance to buy a Bonio-shaped Tug Toy, in return for three proofs of purchase and £1.99.

Sales volume rose 18 per cent during the promotion and double-digit growth continued for the next five months.

Using a “scratch the teeth card” mechanism to demonstrate the efficiency of Bonio on dogs’ teeth was relevant, innovative and had a considerable positive effect on sales – all reasons why the EFSP jury decided to reward this creative promotional campaign.


Category: Financial Services

Year: 1999

Award: Gold

Agency: Triangle Client: Barclays Bank

Brand: Barclays Savings

Campaign: How will you save yours?

Within a very competitive and generally dull market, Barclays Bank wanted to raise awareness of its range of saving products among its current account customers and encourage them to arrange an interview with their personal banker. The bank teamed up with Cadbury’s Creme Egg, and offered anyone requesting an interview the instant reward of a free Creme Egg plus the possibility of winning a “golden nest egg” of £25,000.

The creative communication used posters, leaflets, regional press and public relations, and borrowed the look of Cadbury’s advertising for its Creme Eggs – even playing on the strapline “How do you eat yours?” with “How will you save yours?”

The EFSP jury was impressed by the whole idea, its excellent and creative execution and the superb results – consumer awareness was up 85 per cent and sales were 190 per cent over forecast.


Category: Business-to-Business

Year: 2002

Award: Gold

Agency: SMP Client: The Wireless Group

Brand: TalkSport Radio Campaign: TalkSport

In order to inform advertisers and media planners that TalkSport’s format had changed to 24-hour news and sport programming, the radio station wanted to arrange face-to-face meetings with key media buyers – a notoriously difficult set of people to make personal contact with.

After a telephoning drive to find out each media buyer’s favourite sport and their shoe size, a box containing one left shoe relating to their chosen sport was sent to them. They were given the right shoe at the end of a meeting with a TalkSport representative. The media buyers were also directed to a special website, and if a number in the sole of their shoe matched the one published online, they won tickets for the FA Cup Final.

Sportshoe and size details were obtained for 92 per cent of all contacts (150). Over 20 presentations were arranged and 15 of these subsequently bought advertising on TalkSport for the first time, generating over ââ¬1m (£683,000) of incremental advertising revenue.

The EFSP jury liked the campaign’s simple message, the programme’s high targeting and its effectiveness at generating such a high number of appointments.

Family travelcard

Category: Travel and Leisure

Year: 2002

Award: Gold

Agency: Interfocus Client: London Transport

Brand: Family Travelcard

Campaign: Family Travel Savings

In an effort to get families using the Underground and buses more, London Transport launched the Family Travelcard. The new ticket offers families of two adults and up to four children unlimited travel for a fixed price. The focus of the campaign was mothers of children aged five to 12 years living in the Greater London area. A leaflet was produced that offered £80-worth of discounts at 16 of London’s top attractions. The leaflet was in the form of a fold-out map that listed the featured attractions and a map of the tube, train and bus services in the area. Designed with children in mind, it was hoped the map would ensure both children and their mothers would be involved in planning days out during the summer holidays.

The EFSP jury thought the campaign’s portrayal of London as one “giant theme park” original and attractive.


Category: Non-food

Year: 2000

Award: Gold

Agency: SMP Client: Kimberley Clark

Brand: Andrex Campaign: Andrex Beannie Puppies

To maintain its 30 per cent-plus market share of the UK toilet roll market, Andrex created an on-pack promotion that capitalised on the popularity of Beannie soft toys and the brand’s long association with Labrador puppies. A Beannie Puppy was offered for four Andrex proofs of purchase plus £2 – considerably less than the retail price of similar beanie toys. The puppies could be named, each coming with a laser printed “birth certificate” with one of ten puppy character profiles to encourage repeat ordering. Also included was an offer on a Year 2000 Andrex Puppy Calendar and a questionnaire that would provide information for the Andrex database. A £100,000 donation to National Canine Defence League added a goodwill element to the campaign.

Over 1 million puppies were ordered – more than twice the number forecast – and Andrex’s volume share increased to a record 32.9 per cent.

The EFSP jury felt this promotion was not only hugely successful from a sales point of view, but was attractive, creative and relevant to the Andrex brand.


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