Spray, Wash & Sell – Speaking the Consumer’s Language
By Rupa Ranganathan, Ethnic Strategist, Strategic Research Institute
It may not be glamorous, but it works.
A week after the television networks began promoting their fall lineup of shows and Star Wars mania broke out with the third installment in the sci-fi series, Reckitt Benckiser,
a good-old traditional packaged goods manufacturer that has increasingly turned to in-store marketing and infomercials to promote its products, announced it had completed its
fourth straight year of 20 percent (give or take) annual profit growth.
In an age where glitzy product placements, controversial ads and new media get most of the press, Reckitt has taken a decidedly middle class approach to touting the benefits
of its products.
According to a story by Deborah Ball in The Wall Street Journal, “In European supermarkets, this year, Reckitt representatives baked a variety of foods into thousands
of miniature pots to demonstrate how a new dishwasher powder removes difficult foods. To show that a new Spray ‘n Wash removes stains before clothes go in the wash, in-store product
demonstrators invited shoppers to watch as they removed spaghetti sauce or wine from clothing.”
Elio Leoni Sceti, Reckitt’s chief marketing officer, said, “We try to convince rather than tell consumers. The whole idea is to show something that works before your eyes.”
Clearly, the simplicity of product demonstrations whether through informercials or through in-store marketing channels seems to be delivering the goods for this packaged goods
company based in London.
Moderator’s Comment: How many consumer marketers who are looking at the ethnic market are targeting their in-store demos and infomercial servings to
their customers? (Localization experts may change the spaghetti to salsa.) How many of the home shopping channels are reaching out to multicultural consumers through the rising
stream of direct response marketing channels that are available?
This global age of marketing baffles us with too much segmentation information and focus on how consumers are different. Our obsession with ethnic media
proliferation and the tools to cleverly target each of the numerous sub-groups sometimes takes us away from some home truths about our brands and the categories they represent.
Rupa Ranganathan – Moderator