It’s 10am on Saturday morning and I reluctantly admit I need a mad dash to Morrisons.  My first weekend visit since before Christmas.  Worst time ever, big shop peak period, but I’ve really got to pick up a few last minute essentials for my daughter’s 8th birthday party.  Bun ingredients and napkins for cake distribution, popcorn and Pringles – that’s all!  Predictably, it turns into an attempted full scale shop by cruising as few aisles as possible in 30 mins.

Things I need, but always forget on the lunchtime dash to the local Sainsbury’s, finally get hunted down and make it into the trolley.  This weekend’s mad dash took me to the tissue aisle (scratchy kitchen roll was taking its toll on my snotty 2 and 4 year old’s noses) and frozen for berries (NutriBullet Christmas present results in predictable New Year health effort.  Jon at work told me frozen berries are good to throw in).

We use the force to find the unfrequented ‘tissue aisle’ and I’m pleased to see a
promotion to win the ultimate night in on Velvet, so clearly that’s the one I choose.  And enter.  I do love a good win a big night in on-pack promotion, they come around every year and they always involve winning TV’s, watching movies and encouraging us to eat.   I digest the small print to find out what TV I can win and am happy to see Velvet’s prize package includes not only the predictable home entertainment system but a chocolate fountain, Sodastream, and snuggly blanket!  Result.

Back to the frozen berry hunt, I shortcut through chilled to pick up a mega block of cheese only to be confronted by a McVitie’s Cakes shipper next to the sausage rolls.  “Is it a Cake or is it a Pudding?” chants the interactive wheel of fortune.  You could win a trip to Jamaica or New York!  Sounds good but it is January – I’m being healthy and looking for frozen berries.  But that’s just predictable and now I’m quite looking forward to watching telly under a snuggly blanket and eating nice things.  I’m having some cake, sorry pudding, the Lemon one sounds good.   Forgetting we’ll be eating birthday cake and buns for the next 2 weeks, in the trolley it goes.

Finally find the frozen berries near the ice cream.  But not before I’ve spotted another out of category display for more tissues next to the frozen chips.  I didn’t need to bother hunting down the tissue aisle after all.

This trip, plus the TV ads I saw in the run up to Christmas supporting on-pack promotions (Richmond’s Sausages & Chip and Muller’s Win a Fairy Godmuller) is making me hopeful.  I’m hoping 2016 sees many more brands differentiating and engaging through creative added value prize promotions.

Whether the promotion is predictably in keeping with the time of year and retail calendar (like winning a cosy night in during Winter) or challenging convention (like bigging up cake during healthy January) I’m not sure it always matters.  Brands just need it to have impact and stand out.  Whether extra displays are logical and in complimentary categories or more randomly placed cake next to sausages, is up for discussion.  But wherever shoppers see it, on-pack promotions will help grab our attention and drive brand preference regardless.

Joanne Schofield

Account Group Director (and mum of 3)

McVitie's “Is it a Cake or is it a Pudding?” promotional shipper

Out of category display for tissues