We are seeing a resurgence of on-pack offers, says Paul McGann of marketing agency Brass



We are seeing a resurgence of on-pack offers, says Paul McGann of marketing agency Brass

From movie downloads to cuddly toys, family holidays to festivals, it seems to me more and more packs have added a ‘Win’, ‘FREE’ or ‘Collect’ message on them. It’s about time!

For years, many food and drink brands have been in a race to the bottom, repeatedly slashing prices to justify a space on shelf and generate any sales growth at all. It wasn’t sustainable and it is increasingly ineffective. In some FMCG categories, over 75% of volume is now sold at a discounted price and shoppers are being trained to only buy when there’s a deal.

Meeting demand for ever lower price points against rising ingredient and production costs means something has to give, and in many cases it’s food quality, or marketing, or both. In doing so, brands sign their own death warrant and fall victims of Project Reset or the latest retailer range rationalisation. Who needs a brand when some own label is perceived to be lower price and better taste?

I think it’s time for brands to fight back. Add value, don’t erode it. Justify your superiority and price premium in the category. Your packaging is one area of shopper marketing activation you can actually control consistently. It is your best salesperson.

Brands can leverage this direct-to-shopper channel with promotional propositions on-pack that really help them stand out in a sea of sameness. Deliver messaging beyond the functional that engages and excites shoppers browsing the fixture. The best on-pack activations mean we throw rational thinking out of the trolley in a desperate attempt to ‘win a Disneyland holiday’ or ‘get tickets to that exclusive gig’.

And they grow sales. Well executed, you can expect sales uplifts in excess of 20%.

In fact on-pack activity can deliver a number of your marketing and sales objectives cost effectively. They help you reinvigorate tired impulse brands. For under a penny a pack, you can attract new buyers and grow household penetration. Build purchase frequency and rate of sale. Secure extra display. Encourage cross sell. Even reward loyalty. They are the perfect communication platform to build a deeper conversation with your shoppers and consumers.

Of course there are plenty of on-pack campaigns that miss the mark. Shoppers are savvy these days and wary of activations offering just a few top prizes with a one in a million chance of winning! Similarly, technology for technology’s sake can sometimes get in the way of a great promotion – be sure your audience will bother to download the App to enter using that clever Augmented Reality experience you spent most of the budget on.

If you are thinking about going on-pack in 2019, here are some things to think about:

1.     Theme – use shopper insight to find the most motivating promotional messages

2.     Awareness – consider the path to purchase, how will a shopper see the activity?

3.     Stand-out, not standard – be creative with the on-pack design to maximise impact

4.     User Experience – make the entry mechanic simple and appealing for the target audience

5.     Reward the many, not the few – think how you can add value for as many shoppers as possible

6.     Amplify – use all your brand channels to bring the activation to life

With many of the big retailers and brands back in growth, I sense optimism slowly returning to the UK grocery market. I hope this observation inspires you to give on-pack activations a go in 2019 and I look forward to seeing you ‘on shelf!’

Paul McGann is Managing Partner at Brass Agency. Brass is a multi-award-winning full-service marketing agency with expertise in strategic thinking and delivery and specialist skills in digital, advertising, design, PR, SEO, media, shopper, consumer insights, brand engagement and promotional marketing. Clients include Coty, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Perrigo and Burton’s Biscuits. This comment originally appeared on the Brass website.