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Jul 13, 2017

The Best Things Come...

by Gary Rapps - Managing Director

The Best Things Come...

Are you a Heinz Ketchup fan? Do you remember their classic TV commercials?

The ones based on scenes of anticipation as consumers eagerly awaited the appearance of a slow pouring, thick sauce emerging from an upturned, and often vigorously shaken, glass bottle.

Well if they were to be believed, then the best things came to those who waited and it’s a marketing approach that we are seeing used more and more in grocery channels to build shopper interest. Take Cadbury’s Creme Eggs for example.

There’s a brand that has built its popularity around the Q1 sales period by making consumers wait until January 1st before it appears in store, only to disappear again by Easter!

The same can be said for a host of others, led in part by retailers’ continual drive for calendar inspired events, but is this seasonal approach taking its toll on creativity I wonder? I can’t help but feel that brands linked to these fixed in store periods, year in year out, simply revert to the same box of uninspiring promotional ideas to try and encourage consumer purchase.

Just how many times do shoppers need to claim a spa day with every Mother’s Day purchase, win an iPad during a ‘Back To School’ event or be offered the chance to stay in a haunted castle at Halloween? I could go on but that wouldn’t give me time to talk about another seasonal bugbear of mine… Merlin Entertainment offers!

Is it me or does every shelf in store at the moment seem to carry a brand with a ticket entry deal on it? In one shop alone, I spotted no less than six different products offering me various combinations of half price, two for one or grown-ups go free packages to a selection of entertainment venues.

Whilst Merlin have done a great job, it must be said, in ensuring that these packs carry their strong corporate identity and individual park graphics, I do wonder if all the brand owners involved are getting the same benefits from the relationship. 

Surely there is a case here of ‘offer overload’ with consumers being drawn first to the bigger marketing spenders, with the largest ranges, in the widest distribution, to pick up a ticket deal.

And with so many in the market at any one time, won’t they also be comparing the structure of the discount and product RRP to ensure they get the most savings before visiting their preferred attraction?

Here’s what I mean …

Fanta/ Sprite/ Dr Pepper – Save £25 on entry to Alton Towers or Thorpe Park when you buy a full price ticket plus get a free one ride fast track pass

Cadburys range – Save on entry at more than 20 Merlin attractions when you buy a full price ticket

Kelloggs range – Get a 2 for 1 entry deal at 30 Merlin attractions saving up to £50

Carex – Enjoy half price entry at Alton Towers or Sea Life centres saving £26

Branston – Get a 2 for 1 entry deal at 13 Merlin attractions

Brioche Pasquier – A Thorpe Park only deal based on a 2 for 1 ticket promotion

There could be others out there but with some of the above now in their second and even third years of operation it seems that Merlin Ticket Month, as I like to call it, has already found its place on the retailer event calendar despite my creative concerns.

You could say it’s a case of the best savings come to those who wait!

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