Display display display: Why brands should play it simple with World Cup promotions

Budweiser: first major sponsor to announce World Cup activation plans
Budweiser: first major sponsor to announce World Cup activation plans

With a big summer of sales promotion ahead of us, it's important for brands not to lose focus on the right KPIs, writes Rob Sellers, director at Dialogue London.

This week Budweiser became the first major sponsor to announce their activation plans for FIFA World Cup 2014. Launching at the end of March, the ‘Rise as One’ global campaign will revolve around a ‘win tickets’ promotion, supported through the line.

The World Cup traditionally sees a flurry of big, bold promotions as brands (sponsors or otherwise) seek to harness the passion.

The World Cup traditionally sees a flurry of big, bold promotions as brands (sponsors or otherwise) seek to harness the passion and shopper missions unique to the biggest show on the planet. For many FMCG companies, it’s the most important event in a four-year calendar. We can expect the likes of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kellogg’s, Carling, Walkers and many other powerhouse brands to launch big integrated promotions that dominate the first half of the summer.

In recent times, sales promotion campaigns have got bigger, bolder and more integrated. No longer just an on-pack. Oh, no. Now we need to see them as ‘360 brand experiences’ – engines to generate Facebook ‘likes’, user generated content, augmented experiences and geo-posted hashtags.

But ultimately, brand owners should never lose sight of their core purpose. Beer brands do not exist to act as travel agents, soft drinks companies are not in the business of distributing technology to teenagers. The clue is in the phrase "Sales Promotion".  The activity should be about driving sales – through selling more product to more people, and maintaining a good margin of profit.

Driving sales

In the world of fast moving consumer goods, driving sales comes down to one key thing: display. The more product you have on display, in more places around a store, the more people will buy it. In shopper terminology, this means two things – off-shelf feature and secondary sitting. Yes, compelling claims and competitive pricing might convert those shoppers, but without maximising the distribution of your brand, it will not matter how effective the rest of your communication mix is.

Thinking a promotional mechanic will keep a shopper ‘loyal’ for more than a handful of purchases is misguided.

In addition, don’t be distracted by ‘loyalty’. Thinking a promotional mechanic will keep a shopper ‘loyal’ to your product for more than a handful of purchases is misguided. You can change their preferences, and their habits – but loyalty is an emotional engagement that in most product categories is a bridge too far. Increasing sales comes from a focus on penetration, which is once again linked to getting the product in front of as many people as possible.

This summer, with so much to play for, brands will be fighting for that in-store display. It will be a proper heavyweight battle as compelling as the football tournament itself.

The savvy marketers will know this, and Budweiser are switched on to the challenge. The announcement of the campaign suggested that it ‘will be supported with feature and display in store’, but we know the reality that the true goal is the display, supported by the campaign.

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