P&G, Walmart Reach Out to Family Shoppers
With Integrated Co-Marketing Campaign
By Dale Buss
Just as American shoppers prefer a store environment that plays to rather than offends their sensibilities, they feel the same way about watching TV. Two giants of the U.S. marketplace, Procter & Gamble and Walmart, harnessed that insight by presenting original family-friendly programming in “Family Movie Nights” beginning last year, and last week the companies committed to extending their partnership for a second year.
Each presentation – including the latest, Truth Be Told, which aired on Fox on Saturday night, April 16 – packages a new family-friendly movie with advertising clusters that feature P&G brands and products, and Walmart stores, individually, as well as in integrated messages that leave no doubt what the companies are encouraging consumers to do once they get to a Walmart store.
Company executives told CPGmatters that Family Movie Nights have been surprisingly effective in encouraging purchase. “Our brand equities and brand favorability have gone up” across America during the two weeks after each of the five movies that have aired so far, as well as actual sales of Tide laundry detergent, Swiffer dusters and other Procter & Gamble products at Walmart stores and elsewhere, said Jeannie Tharrington, a spokeswoman for Cincinnati-based P&G.
Meanwhile, Walmart went ahead and created a broader merchandising and marketing campaign, called Family Moments, around the movies, which has included selling the movies on DVDs and helping parents to create family-oriented game nights and even fishing expeditions.
Both companies are deepening their commitment to Family Movie Nights because they believe American consumers and shoppers are rewarding them for putting some resources behind TV programming that, while sometimes bland or even saccharine, can be counted on by parents.
Ben Simon, director of marketing for Walmart’s Family Moments programs, said that the company’s research with thousands of moms clearly showed “the need for more family programming on TV, given the low levels of satisfaction with the programming out there. And we focused on TV because it is so dominant in the lives of children and families. Parents want to watch it with their children.”
Moreover, Simon said, Walmart “realized that a lot of dollars we put into advertising were helping to fund and create shows that moms were having issues with.”
Naturally, both P&G and Walmart place their brands and products in the movies and have created some narratives with the ads surrounding the shows that are only possible because they have total control of the production and the time slot.
“We also are able to keep out other products and brands from advertising during the shows, of course, that aren’t a good fit,” Simon said. “Moms are tired of battling for the remote control not only over the content of shows but also over the advertising that shouldn’t be there. So we’re able to create an oasis for families with the whole experience.”
While getting uneven reception critically, the movies have fared well enough ratings-wise – in the top three in their time slots, even on weekend nights – that P&G and Walmart have risked doubling down on the concept, with plans to air four more P&G-produced original movies throughout the rest of 2011. They also have hinted at extending the franchise by producing a TV-series pilot based on one of the films in coming months.
Typically, the two companies are the sole advertisers around the broadcast, although they’ve let a few others in. And while in some of the early movies they took advantage of the obvious opportunities for product placement, P&G has scaled back quite a bit in the placement department lately in the interests of making the stories themselves more credible to viewers.
The first cluster of ads shown during the telecast of Truth Be Told was typical of how P&G and Walmart have developed the opportunity to appeal so directly to the sweet spot of their demographic. After setting the dramatic hook with the story – which starred TV staples Candace Cameron Bure and David James Elliott – the companies swerved into view with their first cluster of ads.
It opened with a device that would recur throughout the broadcast and that presumably helped draw the viewing family unit even closer together and around an advertising-relevant issue: a “Family Night Faceoff” quiz. First question: “At what age do babies truly first smile?” After offering multiple-choice answers, the spot promised to provide the answer later.
Then the screen segued into an ad for Pampers, featuring inspiring shots of babies and parents and concluding with an extremely family-friendly message, “Pampers believes every baby is a little miracle ...” The next spot shows a checkout conveyor at a Walmart with a pie followed by a package of Pampers Sensitive wipes and Pampers Cruisers, concluding the the Walmart logo and the message: “Low prices. Every day. On everything. Backed by our Ad Match Guarantee.”
Immediately thereafter, P&G ran a spot for Bounty paper towels, and then another one for Pringles chips (even though P&G will be selling the venerable brand to Diamond snacks soon). Then, back to the quiz about babies smiling; answer: “5 to 8 weeks old.” Immediately followed by another highly integrated advertising message, urging viewers to “use Pampers Sensitive wipes and Pampers Cruisers and buy them together at the Walmart everyday low price” of $25 for Cruisers and $1.97 for wipes.
Still in the same advertising package, next, was an ad for Frito-Lay’s all-natural chips. While not formally part of the P&G-Walmart alliance for Family Movie Nights, other carefully selected advertisers and brands – not only including PepsiCo but also Kraft, Ford and Microsoft – also get to pitch at Family Movie Night viewers.
The first advertising package concluded with a pure-Walmart spot touting the chain’s return to an emphasis
on price-matching with rivals. “Match it!” a handful of Walmart employees said in response to a shopper’s price query; and the ad even sneaked in a cameo appearance by Randy Jackson, a judge on American Idol, whose viewer demographcis greatly overlap those of Family Movie Nights. Some Fox-network promos closed out
So it went all evening long through the airing of Truth Be Told, the latest example of a marketing package that P&G and Walmart have found works for them – and believe may work for other brands and companies.
“Part of what we’re doing,” Simon said, “is trying to become a catalyst for more of this type of programming” for other advertisers, and networks. “We hope we’ll start to see a real renaissance across all of prime-time, when there really should be a lot of co-viewing for the entire family.”
Shoppers’ Attitudes Are Conservative
As Economy Transitions to Recovery
By Lynne Cooke
Fewer shoppers are buying to private label products or switching national brands to catch a sale, hinting at glimmers of optimism in a marketplace still marked by high levels of caution and frugality. However, the number of shoppers engaging in preplanning activities, such as coupon clipping and list making, remain virtually unchanged and are very much a part of grocery shopping rituals.
These results point to conservative, yet cautiously optimistic, shopping strategies that characterize SymphonyIRI’s inaugural MarketPulse survey, which is an evolution of its Competing in a Transforming Economy analysis series. SymphonyIRI released survey results on the first day of its Summit 2011 conference last month in Miami.
"An economy in transition to recovery is as tricky to navigate for CPG, retail and healthcare leaders as an economy moving into recession," said John Freeland, president and chief executive officer, SymphonyIRI. "Some shoppers are retaining their frugal ways, others are spending more freely across the board and others still are spending more on some types of products, but remaining tight fisted about others. They are also re-evaluating where they purchase their products and updating their definition of value.
"This review of product and retail value proposition provides an outstandingopportunity for manufacturers and retailers willing to analyze carefully discrete shopper microsegments and understand the motivations and drivers of each,” continued Freeland.
Statistics from the survey point to consumers holding the purse strings just a bit less tightly in their day-to-day lives:
- Six of ten shoppers (60%) are eating out less often, as compared to 65% at this time last year
- One of two (52%) try to make personal care products last longer, versus 63% in 2009
- One of two (49%) visit hair salons less often, as opposed to 55% last year.
Still, grocery shopping is characterized by very deliberate and well thought out behaviors:
- Two out of three shoppers today are making shopping lists prior to visiting the store, consistent with trends in 2010
- Also unchanged during the past year, slightly more than half (56%) are reading store fliers either before or at the store.
Other survey results indicate that consumers are shifting back to their favorite brands, though value remains essential:
- More than a third consumers (38%) in 2011 are giving up their favorite brands to save money, versus almost half (46%) in 2010
- Almost two of three (64%) in 2011 say price has become a more important consideration than convenience in brand purchases, a decline of six points versus 2010
- More than a third of consumers (36%) are actively seeking out private label brands to save money today, versus 44% in 2010.
The survey also researched respondents’ predictions regarding their personal financial situations over the next 12 months. These findings also reflect a diverse range of opinions:
- Only slightly more consumers feel their home real estate value will improve in the coming year, with 25% in 2011, versus 22% in 2010. The ranks of those anticipating a significant decline in value shrank four points during the same period. Findings both years showed 40% of consumers expected the value of their real estate to remain unchanged
- More consumers expect at least a little bit of upward movement in the value of their investments in the coming year. Very few expect significant improvement (less than 4% each year), but one in four consumers expect their investments will improve somewhat in 2011, versus one in five consumers last year. Of equal importance, fewer consumers expect significant declines to occur.
- Prospects for building savings have shown glimmers of hope in the past year. While the ranks of those expecting to increase what they are able to save remains unchanged, fewer consumers expect their ability to save will deteriorate. Today 13% of consumers expect their ability to save will worsen in the coming year, versus 18% in 2010.
In other findings, consumers are beginning to embrace new media, such as social networks and brand Web sites. In the coming year, 9% of consumers expect that their brand decisions will be influenced by information gathered via Web site or e-mail, versus 5% for blogs or social networking sites.These figures remain largely unchanged versus 2010.
New Focus on 50+ Consumers
Food companies have begun to aggressively target healthy shoppers over the age of 50, according to a new study from Packaged Facts. These “seniors” are a critical segment for supermarkets and specialty food stores focusing on organic and natural products. Data form the study indicates that they are willing to pay a premium when buying “better-for-you” grocery products compared to consumers of other ages.
The study defines “healthy 50+ consumers” as the 26 million Americans 50 years and over who are pursuing a wellness regime that includes healthy eating and regular exercise activites such a fitness walking or swimming. These consumers have an aggregate household income of $1 trillion, and comprise a quarter of adults in their age group and 12% of all consumers.
Consumers Not Saving More
Despite some cheerful economic news recently, there has been no change in the steps that people are taking to save money and reduce their spending, says a new Harris Poll of 3,171 adults recently. Many people continue to economize, and there is no evidence of consumers' spending behavior being more relaxed. The recession ended many months ago, but the psychological impact of the financial and housing crisis is still very strong.
This is the sixth Harris Poll since 2009 to ask about steps that some consumers are taking to save money and avoid spending too much. The last time these questions were asked was in October last year and the results in this new survey are virtually identical to those from six months ago.
Diageo Expects Sales Growth After Focusing on Shoppers
By Dale Buss
Shopper marketing in the spirits business has come a long way from the days when dancing bottles on cardboard displays at the point of purchase, animated by little battery-powered electric motors, would compel shoppers to check out a brand. But even at Diageo, the spirits-industry giant, shopper marketing remained relatively undefined and unrefined until about three years ago.
That’s when the London-based parent company of brands including Guinness, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan “made a commitment to customer marketing as a way to drive growth,” explained Jonathan Nell, Diageo’s director of shopper marketing, who came on board two years ago.
And today, harnessing new insights about its customer demographics and usage occasions for its brands, Diageo is proactively working with its retailer-customers on a number of shopper marketing programs that show early promise of generating double-digit sales increases at fully participating outlets when they’re eventually rolled out completely.
“All of the test results we’ve gotten are directionally consistent not only with growing our brands, but also growing the entire category,” Shawn Fitzgerald, Diageo’s director of shopper planning, told CPGmatters. “This is a journey. We’ve got some really large-scale tests in place right now. The bottom line is that our [retailer] customers gain from the insights behind the tests, and we’re fulfilling shopper needs.”
To embark on their journey, Green, Fitzgerald and their colleagues first had to make sure that everything about Diageo’s shopper marketing efforts were aligned internally even as they had a clear mandate from the top of the company to jump start efforts to improve point-of-purchase motivation, marketing and merchandising.
“It’s a lot about getting aligned behind what you’re trying to achieve,” Nell said, “and sometimes even at the senior level we hadn’t really worked through, internally, what that meant.”
So Nell and Green spent considerable time working to integrate their shopper marketing aims and programs with Diageo’s brand marketing programs. “We needed to make sure it connects with what we’re doing in consumer marketing, and maximizing investments,” Nell explained.
At the same time, Diageo had to “sell” its retailer customers on the notion of embarking on a new and different journey in search of improved shopper marketing. Understanding how decision making works at large retailers was one key. Also, Nell and Fitzgerald took care to run thorough single- and multiple-store tests with retailers to validate the exercise and get their partners excited about rolling out the innovations in shopper marketing.
“Another thing is that it has been critical to work with those customers because they have the data that can really validate the performance of the exercise,” Nell said.
Diageo also worked with retailers to help ensure the success of the shopper marketing initiatives all the way back to consumer consideration of their purchases before shopping trips. Many Americans now use retailers’ web sites to get information about products and to help plot their purchases when they actually enter stores, and Diageo was able “to integrate into the retailers’ platforms with solution ideas, suggestions of food pairings [with spirits products and brands], and types of cocktails they could make,” Nell said.
Working with retailers in that way, Diageo also could heighten the attractive aspects shopping experiences that always have been a cut above typical CPG shopping for many Americans.
“People are on autopilot when they’re shopping for, maybe, bread or other grocery staples,” Fitzgerald said. “But [spirits] are a more engagement-oriented shopper experience, more similar to personal- or beauty-care items. It’s more fun. So the insights that are driving our strategies and activiations in the store are really around how do we tap into the state of mind that the consumer is in?”
Understanding who the shopper is because a hugely important learning about what the shopper is thinking. And in that regard, as Fitzgerald and Nell delved deeper into Diageo’s customer base, they found something huge that surprised them: Women are the primary shoppers for spirits and liquors, not men, as had been the assumption.
“Our shoppers are – more so than anybody had thought – the typical shopping moms,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s women who are making the purchasing decisions in our category and going on the shopping trips. And it’s a globally consistent framework. It helped us produce a model that we used to really change people’s way of thinking about who we should be talking to – and why females are important.”
Further, Diageo learned much more about when and why Americans shop for spirits. The industry long had appreciated that occasions largely drove purchases – including obvious ones such as New Year’s Eve, Christmas-holiday parties, and family celebrations of birthdays and other major holidays. What Nell, Fitzerald et al freshly learned was that the consumer’s definition of an “occasion” significant enough to drive a spirits purchase was much looser and more casual than Diageo had imagined previously.
“We had a tendency to focus on the big events – big parties where spirits in particular play a prominent role,” explained Fitzgerald. “But the reality is that those occasions are the minority of the occasions. There are a lot of other, more frequent occasions that happen throughout the year, and tapping into shoppers for those occasions is a bigger opportunity.”
Like what? Informal get-togethers with friends, maybe even spontaneous ones, on the front porch or patio, or hosting a Thursday-evening party. “It wasn’t that we didn’t understand those were going on,” Fitzgerald said, “but we reframed our thinking about how to focus on more year-round events.
“It sounds simple after the fact, but it’s actually a very powerful change and transformation in our thinking.”
Harnessing those and other shopper insights to a new resolve to create more effective shopper marketing programs with its retailer partners, Diageo has been developing, among other things, a “Simply Cocktails” merchandising initiative aimed at “infrequent purchasers” of spirits.
The idea is simple: Create a display and merchandising area for retailers where shoppers are drawn into curiosity about making cocktails out of Diageo spirits brands and complementary products. “Our insight was that cocktails are appealing to people, but there is an intimidation factor if they’re making cocktails for themselves or others,” Fitzgerald said. “Anything we could do to make that easier or less intimidating would help that shopper purchasing the products that they need.”
The Diageo displays have a “Simply Cocktails” banner and, in their fully deployed mode, three adjacent displays of different types of spirits, soft drinks and other complementary products. Each of these displays comprises a particular “level of difficulty” for shopper who wants to make cocktails. “Ready/Pour” is one, “Simple Mix” is the next step up, and “Easy Shake” is the highest level.
“’Easy Shake’ is the most complicated, but even it is relatively easy to do,” Fitzgerald said. “The idea is to provide different solutions to help people with different types of occasions or different levels of sophistication” in preparing cocktails.
Retailers have the option of customizing the displays or using their own nomenclature, and of selecting from among the modules that Diageo has designed. For example, a retailer with a large footprint and a big variety of shoppers will be more likely to engage the whole Simply Cocktails model, whereas an outlet with a smaller footprint and a more specialized clientele might be more selective – such as convenience stores, which are tending to opt for just the “Ready/Pour” and “Simple Mix” modules.
In any event, tests of the Simply Cocktails concept with selected retailers showed an average 11% return across the Diageo brands involved. And Fitzgerald said that the company is looking for “directionally consistent” results at its retailer partners as more test and roll out the concept.
“It’s amazing,” said Fitzgerald, “to see how embedded it’s become in just a year or two.”
National Syndicated Program Launched
To Provide Grocery Shopper Insights
By Jack Grant
A national syndicated program called Grocery Shopper Insights (GSI-1) has been launched by VideoMining Corporation, provider of in-store marketing intelligence for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers.
Tom Sullivan, who has joined VideoMining Corporation as President, will rely on his veteran leadership in the industry to spearhead the company’s move into syndicated shopper metrics.
The program will deploy VideoMining’s breakthrough in-store measurement and analytics technology in a carefully-selected sample of stores in 15 U.S. markets to analyze over 25 million grocery trips this year. The large behavioral data set, integrated with transaction data and attitudinal surveys, will provide unprecedented visibility into the path to purchase of grocery shoppers and factors that impact purchase decisions.
The overall objective of the program is to help participants gain direct feedback on precisely where to focus their efforts for improving shopper engagement and conversion for each grocery trip type and for each shopper segment, explained Rajeev Sharma, Founder and CEO of VideoMining.
The program’s components, each aimed at optimizing different elements of the grocery channel, include:
- Center of Store Merchandising Optimization (COSMO)
- End-Cap Optimization (ECO)
- Aisle/Category Optimization (ACO), and
- Front-End Merchandising Optimization (FEMO).
“We are delighted with this opportunity to bring the true ‘voice of the shopper’ to grocery retailing,” said
David Haubert, Vice President of Business Development at VideoMining and former Director of Manufacturer Collaboration at Safeway. “We fill a major industry void by providing a scalable platform to measure shopper responses to each merchandising and marketing vehicle, so retailers and manufacturers can collaborate to meet shopper needs.”
Sharma of VideoMining added, “Our prior work has demonstrated that grocery stores may be quite successful in engaging shoppers at different points of the trip, but not necessarily in converting them. This program will focus on understanding purchase barriers and ways to overcome those barriers effectively, so grocery stores can become more productive.”
The program will benefit from VideoMining’s experience with a successful ongoing syndicated program in the convenience store channel as well as retailer-specific in-store learning and testing programs with several major chains.
Speaking of the addition of Sullivan to the VideoMining team, Sharma said, “We are very excited to have Tom on board, especially at a time when there is a strong industry need for creating standardized shopper metrics and solutions. He will also play a key role in our Grocery Shopper Insights program.”
Sullivan, whose resume includes 35 years of experience at research, consulting and consumer packaged goods companies, said, “I am excited to join VideoMining at a point when it is making a transformation from a project orientation to a syndicated model.”
His most recent position was Vice President of Customer Development and Services, Nielsen In-Store, at the Nielsen Company. His background includes positions with BD3 Consulting, NCH Nuworld Marketing, Information Resources, Inc., Marketing Corporation of America, Colgate-Palmolive Company and Unilever.