Packaging, Personalisation, Personalised Promotional Marketing

On-pack promotions, on a shelf near you

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
July 6 2016,
August 5 2020
Coke, Marmite, Nutella and others have all recently made a success of personalised labels, managing to elevate everyday purchases into something special and generate premium products without the need to change the formula or content itself. On-pack promotions though are nothing new. Now highly controversial (but withdrawn only 15 years ago) Robertson Jams were distributing promotional Golly badges way back in the 1920s, which were exchanged for on-pack tokens from their jams and marmalades.

Fighting for shelf space, and for consumers’ attention, on-pack promotions are seen as a tactic to differentiate a product when the graphics alone aren’t doing the trick. Aside from winning “the battle for eyeballs” they have other benefits too;

1. Making a splash

Last summer Irn-Bru launched its biggest EVER on-pack promotional giveaway. By revealing a unique code from the bottle label, consumers were given the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip of a lifetime to “anywhere on the planet!” worth £20k. In addition, 15,000 selfie sticks (equating to one being won every 10 minutes) were up for grabs. Sales of Scotland’s other drink inevitably rose as retailers responded to the brand’s urge to “prominently display the Bru-Planet packs to unlock phenomenal profit opportunities”, consumers were intrigued and enticed, and Irn-Bru was rewarded with vastly increased online and offline brand exposure.

2. Getting consumers interacting

Because “there’s nothing more devastating than losing a child’s favourite toy”, Richmond Sausages launched a £3 million campaign at the end of last year to give away, through on-pack promotions, a whopping 200,000 toy-tracking devices.

As part of its "sausages and chip" campaign, parents used a code from the pack and were awarded a chip (which used low power Bluetooth, sound and GPS) for the toy and when this was paired with a smartphone using an app, kept tabs on the much-loved teddy or similar.

3. Providing additional and rich content

As long ago as 2011 Heinz trialled Blippar Augmented Reality (AR) technology which, when a consumer used the smartphone app over the label of its ketchup bottle, delivered a pop-out recipe booklet. This could either be downloaded as a PDF or accessed through the product’s Facebook page.

At around about the same time, and as part of its “YES List” campaign, seven limited-edition Lucozade bottles (enabled by Aurasma) were used to trigger video content of a documentary starring Tinie Tempah and Plan B.

4. Reinforcing a brand’s credentials

With strong brand values and association with sustainability and goodness, Innocent (of smoothie fame) used on-pack promotions for its Buy One Get One Tree campaign. For each unique carton code redeemed by the consumer, Innocent committed to plant a tree in rural Africa or India. The campaign resulted in the planting of over 165,000 trees and proved a great way of reinforcing the brand’s green credentials and principles.

For 100 years or so consumers have been reacting to the messaging and content of FMCG packaging. That shows no signs of going away any time soon!

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