As supermarket shelves groan under the increasing weight of money-off schemes and in-pack premiums, the challenge for agencies is to devise offers that entice while at the same time conveying brand values. Terry McCarthy finds that such opport

In today’s supermarkets, premium promotions have to work harder than ever to give fmcg brands the highest possible return for their money. Surrounded by rows of enticing “free product” offers and “money-off” schemes, on-pack and in-pack premiums are required to hook consumers with an attention-grabbing, added-value offer, while still reflecting the brand’s personality and conveying brand values.

That’s why my “goal of the month” award goes to Carling Premier lager’s offer of a free can cooler inside four-packs. Devised by Marketing Store, the cooler is a flat ice-pack which is kept in the fridge and then wrapped around a can. The well-designed pack also highlights an extra-value mail-in offer in the form of a Carling Premier branded lager glass for 2.99.

Vileda’s current offer of a free pair of kitchen scissors inside special promotional packs of its Wet-tex brand of kitchen cloth is another example of a hard-working premium promotion. The cloth comes on a 1.5 metre roll which consumers cut to the size they require, so the scissors, worth 4, are very appropriate.

The Vileda Wet-tex promotion – through Graham Poulter of Leeds – is carefully targeted at housewives and stands out well in what is, for me, the most boring part of a supermarket.

Another in-pack promotion which has strong appeal is Typhoo’s offer of a free children’s lunchbox with special packs of 240 Typhoo tea-bags. The colourful lunchbox is banded to the product and the promotional packs are priced at 4.99 (which means Typhoo is effectively charging 1 for the premium, since the product normally sells for 3.99). The promotion was developed in-house by Typhoo Premier Brands.

However, I was surprised to find that the lunchbox did not carry any Typhoo branding – thus missing a golden opportunity to sustain brand awareness in the home. It is possible, of course, that Typhoo felt the inclusion of the brand name might detract from the appeal of the gift. But some subtle branding on the base of the lunchbox would not have been too intrusive.

I have always believed that “free” is the most powerful word in the sales promotion lexicon, closely followed by “instant win”. In a recent Cadbury’s Caramel promotion, the brand’s sales promotion agency, CSP, managed to combine both of these hooks in the same promotion – but not to their full potential.

The instant win part of the promotion offers purchasers of Cadbury’s Caramel a chance to win a free Nikon camera (worth 130); purchasers simply open their Caramel wrappers to discover whether they’ve won one of 1,000 cameras. A parallel free mail-in offer invites consumers to obtain a T-shirt or cool bag in return for 25 proofs of purchase.

Unfortunately, since there is insufficient space to illustrate or describe these items on the promotional pack, consumers can’t determine whether the free offers are attractive – or even worth saving for. A great shame, as the “free gift” hook could have been presented as “everyone can win” to support the instant win promotion. Indeed, a free offer might have had greater impact than an “instant win” mechanic since the 25 proofs of purchase requirement is not excessive when the product is bought in a multi-pack.

CPC’s Ambrosia brand is also mounting a dual on-pack premium promotion, through Claydon Heeley International. This scheme combines a “Win a Raleigh bike” prize draw with free offers of child-oriented cycling premiums. Purchasers can claim free children’s cycling equipment by collecting special tokens from promotional packs.

The initiative also establishes a clever link with Ambrosia’s sponsorship of a professional cycle racing team (the riders wear “Team Ambrosia Desserts” motifs on their jerseys and helmets). Not only does the premium promotion enable Ambrosia to remind consumers about the energy-giving benefits of the brand, but the inclusion of gifts such as a child’s cycle helmet link the brand with children’s road safety.


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