Marketing Campaign Delivers a Decisive Strike

Chess game. Queen captures horse
This new Publix supermarket ad is a new approach to watch across all industries

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second part of a series in which advertising veteran and businessman Marcelo Salup shares his personal insights on competitors and their tactics vying for market share in the food industry. Read the first part here.

Food retailers and the martial arts aren’t often found in the same conversation. That is until a grocery store delivers what’s known in some martial arts as an ippon: the highest score possible, given for a decisively and perfectly executed strike that gives the opponent little opportunity for defense.

The Publix supermarket chain has earned its ippon. Following quickly on the tail of a misguided attempt to counterattack Walmart’s unique selling proposition of lower prices, it has launched the most original BOGO (buy one, get one) campaign ever by leveraging the image and budgets of national brands to get people to sample its own house brand.

Publix AdRetail, not usually an innovative field, seems to have fallen into three basic layouts for BOGO campaigns:
• Buy one, get one free
• Buy one, get one at a discount
• Buy one, get a complementary one free or at a discount (e.g., buy Oreos and get some milk)

But with this ad, Publix has managed to create a unique and promising approach that hits all the must-do’s of a successful retail campaign:

1. A very clear, uncomplicated offer: buy one of theirs, get one of ours
2. Offering the consumer a clear benefit: something for free
3. Leveraging national brands’ image and budget to advertise your own products: Everyone knows Welch’s, Planters and Jif, so the moment you put those national brands on the ad, you practically make the reader look down, if only to remark, “Hey! Publix has equivalent products. How about that?”
4. Giving the consumer a reason to visit the store and buy (the only place to get Publix brands is Publix)
5. Using sampling, which has been documented extensively as one of the most effective ways to launch new products

The best part is that Publix has avoided what could have been several pitfalls:
• Trash-talking national brands: calling them more expensive because they spend their money on advertising, in distribution, in whatever
• Patronizing the reader by stating the obvious reasons they should buy store brands: less expensive, good quality, etc.

With this campaign, Publix provides a great example for other companies to follow. Take note, and maybe you can get an ippon of your own!

Other articles by Marcelo:
Can A Bad Ad Provide Good Small Business Lessons?
Apology marketing campaign fails to reach shoppers
In Marketing There are no “Pros” in Reaction
Guerrilla Marketing, Promotion and Social Media
Three Essential Marketing Campaign Components
Create A Unified Strategic, Media and Creative Plan
Engage Customers With An Aligned Media Strategy
How to Use Product Targeting to Determine the Right Channel Mix
Thinking Physics to Increase Your ROI (part 1)
Using Consumer Clusters To Ramp Up ROI

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