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?"


Stacy said...

What is cool about this is that Heinz has been putting slogans on their ketchup for a while now, but at first it was just catchy stuff about ketchup (haha) like "Will Work For Food." So I started looking for these jokes when I went to buy a bottle of Heinz, and I would usually purchase the sloganed one over the regular 57-Varietes one. It seems like this cross-promotion thing was a natural next step then, since they had already captured people's interest.

gone said...

Guerilla style.

Tyler said...

Yeah, I saw the new Heinz bottles a couple days ago. Interestingly enough, the new labels actually drove me away from buying it. Because although the new cross promotions are fresh and unique, they made me feel at some level that the content of the bottle was somehow different. Now, I knew it was the same old ketchup as ever. But, because they changed it, it broke the familiarity I'd grown with the product. With brands that have been running for a long time, familiarity is one of the key things that brings people back over and over again.

But then I just bought the damn thing 'cause I didn't want the Shaw's brand.

sara said...

It's funny, I actually felt deterred from buying them as well, but for a different reason: while an ad for Ore-Ida was really effective in the store, I didn't want an ad for Ore-Ida in my fridge!

So you see, they might have thought about the impact in the store, but it's just as important to consider the 'after purchase.' Like what if you could peel off the Ore-Ida ad and it just said "Tomato ketchup" underneath.

Elliott said...

I've seen those and thought they were cute and gay at the same time. So much of both that I would pretend I didn't see them.