CPGmatters: Coke Activates Brands at Retail With Tests of Video Media
By Dale Buss
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a
current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
Coca-Cola and Meijer
learned tons about harnessing in-store video media for shopper marketing
from a test they ran a couple of years ago with Coca-Cola Classic. Now
both are expanding their respective in-store initiatives with different
Coke has been testing
in-store video with Wal-Mart Stores since last fall. Meijer is finishing
up an entire new in-store video network that will allow it to target areas
throughout its stores.
Specifically, Coke and
Meijer set up video screens at checkout, grocery, pet-care and pharmacy
during the holiday promotion. A primary clip involved the animatronic polar-bear "mascots" that
Coke is famous for bringing out for winter-holiday promotions. Another
motif simply featured ice-cold bottles of Coca-Cola Classic.
In a recent presentation,
Rob Fleener, Meijer’s vice president of marketing,
called the results "dramatic." High-single digit percentage gains
were directly tied to when and where the in-store network played the 15-
and 30-second clips. "Not only did it drive specific Coke sales, but
also the whole soft-drink category, although Coke benefited most," he
And Coke, Mr. Fleener added, considered the initiative "a very successful
program for them because the cost is relatively minimal even with a store-specific
program like that."
To Meijer, the test
showed the importance of using in-store video mainly to offer customers
"A lot of other
things [in shopper marketing] are next-shopping-trip kinds of stuff," he
explained. "This program also didn’t ask people to buy more than they
were used to, or to try something unknown to them, or to switch brands.
This said to them, ‘It’s here; this is Coke; you know the taste; try it
Meijer and the Coca-Cola
representatives had also assumed that the video clip depicting the cuddly
polar bears having fun with Cokes would be more popular with shoppers.
"But the images
of the drink itself, with water glistening on the outside of the cold glass,
proved to be a much better driver," Mr. Fleener said.
"That was especially true as we continued the program after the holidays.
At that point, people were done with the polar bears and ready to move on."
Meijer is now attempting
to figure out the best departments for using in-store video and determining
the paths of least resistance to repeat success.
For example, fresh seafood
may be an area to get some in-store video treatment at Meijer. "Everyone
likes it and knows that it’s relatively good for you, prepared the right
way," Mr. Fleener explained. "But a
lot of people are just intimidated; ‘What do I do with a fish fillet? How
do I cook and prepare it?’
"If we can do things
[with in-store video] to help people overcome their apprehension of preparing
things that are good for them, then maybe we can get people to do things
they haven’t tried before."
Will in-store video eventually become a primary consumer marketing tool
at retail? In what ways do you suspect the technology will prove to be
most useful and where will it prove to be more limited?