FREE-SAMPLE-MARKETING

A tasty reminder of how a traditional marketing tactic can help a brand #StayStrong

In the digital age, it’s sometimes easy to overlook traditional marketing techniques. Recently, however, one brand’s marketing efforts got us all thinking about how sometimes the oldest tricks can be the most effective. Account manager Sarah Bartlett takes a look at one that is helping a brand #StayStrong.

It started with adverts on the tube. After your wireless headphone battery dies, and you’ve flipped through the free newspaper on the seat next to you, your eyes start to wander. Not at the commuters, obviously (eye contact is verboten, as all London commuters know). You see an advert for a brand or product and recognise it, sometimes instantly. You might think about it for a split second or you might not but, either way, your brain has registered it. In this case, it’s an advert for Actimel, a drinking yoghurt.

Next, your colleague comes in to the office on a wet Wednesday morning, waving a free Actimel and money-off vouchers for their next purchase. As it turns out, Actimel has sponsored five central London underground tube stations, including our nearest stop, Farringdon.

It transpires that Danone, the parent company of Actimel products, has spent £225,000 to partner with Transport for London (TfL), who will in turn invest that money back into the upkeep and maintenance of the tube network.

Sampling is a tried and tested marketing technique. What better way to boost sales of your product than to provide them free-of-charge at the point of need (breakfast on the go anyone?) to the very people you want to buy into your product? And yet it can often be overlooked in the digital age.

Brand activation and sampling are something we at Freshwater have seen the power of first-hand. We developed and organised an outdoor ‘Picnic in the Park’ event for snack producer Nature Valley, handing out free samples to busy city workers at their local green space – leaving more than just the bees buzzing that lunchtime. We also worked with Primula to promote their products on the streets of central London – showcasing portraits of celebrities made entirely out of cheese!

And of course it often doesn’t stop there. The lucky recipients of the sample are likely (as they did at Freshwater’s London office) to show off their freebie, and this throws up a natural discussion. “Oh, I wished I hadn’t missed that when I came off the tube, I haven’t had one in ages…I quite fancy one now,” we say. The results of our campaigns were evident: product sampling boosts awareness, which in turn means a spike in sales.

Later on the day of the Actimel giveaway, a Twitter promotion popped up featuring a comedy video that’s inevitably (after earlier yoghurt-based water-cooler convos) shared around with a nonchalant “Seen this guys”, by which point we’ve all subconsciously taken in the campaign hashtag #StayStrong.

So, here we are, all thinking (some of us already drinking) about a delicious drinking yoghurt. But that’s the power of pervasive and integrated marketing – we’re reminded that time-honoured techniques are just that for a reason. Whether it’s yoghurt or yoga classes, apples or architecture, picking the right channels and using them in a complementary way is the key to success. 


Freshwater is a multi-channel communications consultancy that delivers diverse public relations and marketing campaigns across private, public and not-for-profit sectors.


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