So there's this basic retail strategy called cross-promotion: use one item to sell another item. The classic example is a sign next to the chips: "Have a Coke with your chips!" Sometimes they even put a rack of Coke next to the chips. Sometimes, they even design a fixture that holds both Coke and chips. So we've got cross-promotion through signage, through proximity or through physical merchandising. All valid, all done a million times.
But what I saw in Dominick's the other day goes beyond any cross-promo scheme I've ever seen. It was on a micro scale. Heinz is using its actual ketchup labels to sell Ore-Ida french fries.
As I walk by the ketchup section, the Heinz bottles immediately catch my eye. On each bottle, where it usually says "Tomato Ketchup," it now says things about fries. Each one is funny, and each one is different. It says things like "What all the Ore-Ida fries are wearing" and "10 billion Ore-Ida fries can't be wrong." I also liked this one.
This is pretty exciting, because it takes in-store ads one step farther. The ketchup bottle is talking to me. And in a voice filled with personality, it's saying "Walk three aisles over to the frozen potatoes, and buy me a bag of fries." It made me aware of my location in the store, and what it would take to go get fries. I felt like the ketchup and the fries were friends! Like they wanted to be together! Powerful stuff, people.
Most interestingly, it made me consider the voice. I usually see signs in the voice of the store. If Dominick's wants to tell me "This pasta is half off," I'll listen. I trust the grocery store when it tells me about price. I trust the grocery store less, however, when it tells me about food. When Dominick's is like "Our fish is fresh!" I think, "Hmm. Really? Define fresh."
But when I see things in the voice of the product, which is much less often, I think I trust it more. Maybe because this is a new frontier, and it hasn't been exploited to death. But Heinz owns Ore-Ida (which I just discovered) and it's a really interesting way for that parent company to cross-promote its own products. Why rely on Dominick's to do that for them?
And there are so many huge companies that own tons of brands. Procter & Gamble could go nuts in this area - Tide could sell Febreze, for example. If the store told me to buy Febreze with my Tide, I might not listen. But if Tide told me - well, I trust Tide from 62 years of product history. Tide knows what it's talking about!
You know what would really be cool? If I went over to the Ore-Ida section and their bag said "Did you bring the Heinz ketchup?"