Impossible,” said some. “You’ll never make it credible,” said others. “What about mal-redemption?” said some grumpy young men. But enough members of the FWD PR Action Group (PRAG) understood that a money-off coupon promotion would not only create sales for suppliers, wholesalers and independent retailers – it would also create noise.
When an infant is seeking attention, it tends to create noise.
As a campaign in its infancy, this is just what MSYS required to give it a hearing in the jungle that passes for the grocery market, with its unfriendly big beasts and hidden dangers in dense and tangled undergrowth. And that is what has happened.
The Daily Mirror and Daily Record are powerful tabloids. They resonate with a huge section of the shoppers who regularly use local independent stores. This was understood by suppliers’ marketing departments, who by and large wanted to be a part of this ground-breaking activity, knowing it would work.
IMA Group, the Manchester agency which represents Parfetts on PRAG, was asked to investigate a coupon promotion in 2005. It was not the easiest sell-in, but seven big brands came in and were pleased with the return on their investment.
PRAG and Graham Shelley, managing director of IMA, learned a lot during this exercise. First lesson to learn was that wholesalers required ample lead time to get the promotion into their schedules. The second lesson was that suppliers also needed ample time to get the promotion through the marketing department, into factory production schedules and into their wholesale sales presentations.
Compared with seven brands in 2005, 10 brands came in for 2006. Ample planning and implementation time was available. The result was a lot of MSYS and NID 2006 noise. The pages in the tabloids had a lot of impact.
The suppliers taking part have benefitted from massive PR coverage in the trade press which alerted their retailer readers to the promotion. And the suppliers have shown that instead of merely saying they are supportive of the wholesale/independent sector, they will demonstrate their support by participating in this big piece of tangible marketing support for the sector.
As ProWholesaler went to press there was evidence of retail support for NID and the coupon promotion at a much higher level than the campaign organisers could foresee or wish for.
Added together, the coupon promotion and the consumer media plan to promote the community value of the independent c-store and newsagent was creating the noise that you would expect from a lusty infant growing up very quickly.