Special K, Specially marketed. Increase purchase frequency by encouraging more usage.

17 Nov

When I did my year of student exchange in America 3 years ago now, my college room mate and her boyfriend were always going to the gym and trying to get fit and buff with fad diets and so on.

One fad diet they embarked on was the “Special K Challenge”. Now let me set you up for this: A tv ad promoted the “challenge” diet and said that by replacing 2 meals a day for 2 weeks with a bowl of Special K, you could loose weight. You could send away barcodes from the box to claim your free Special K DVD. I can’t remember what was on that… probably more excellent sales strategies.

Being the marketing student that I was at the time, I explained to my friend that this is just blatant sales by Special K. By telling you to eat it more frequently, the more they would sell. She decided not to listen and when I came back to our apartment at lunch times after classes, there she would be scoffing down a bowl of Special K. Their marketing sure worked a treat on her as our bin soon grew to be full of Special K boxes! Smart gimmick Kelloggs.

My Roommate:

  • Sales purchase intent? TICK
  • Inspired?  TICK
  • Brand Salience for Kelloggs? TICK
  • Loosing weight? ummmm if she was it was because she wasn’t eating much of anything at all… only Special K and as we all know you must have a balanced diet to be healthy.
  • Realise that buying cereal and milk works out to be quite expensive and inconvenient and quit the challenge and never go back to it again after the 2 weeks? TICK

Yes the marketing from a “loose weight easily” perspective worked on my roommate. This in turn ment that Kelloggs’ challenge was enticing people to purchase cereal and eat it twice as often as they normally would which would increase purchase frequency and thus increase sales. What Kelloggs should want is brand loyalty. The 2 week period of the “Challenge” gave them that for perhaps 1-4 boxes of cereal per person on the challenge. However, what about after the 2 weeks was over? Would people keep on going?

I have been having a look at Kelloggs site and it seems that they are still promoting this challenge!!! 3 years after I first saw it and it is still going so it must be working! They are engaging challengers on their website by offering email updates and group support networks. A lot of work from Kelloggs side by promoting this as a lifestyle choice, but by engaging with customers and providing an all encompassing brand experience, customers will grow to respect the brand.

However, like my roommate, day to day life is too busy for people to carry around milk and cereal. So, I would assume that while the adverts were running and the Special K challenge was in the swing, sales would have increased, but what about when people stopped? Post purchase behaviour? Did they continue to buy Special K because now they think it’s healthy for them or do they just go back to switching after deciding that Special K lost its specialness?

An interesting case I’m sure you’ll agree.

So by finding new uses for products or encouraging consumers to use a product more frequently will lead to greater sales.

More examples of this:

Shampoo – Read the instructions on your shampoo. Generally it tells you to wash your hair twice with the shampoo to achieve best results. Because I have long hair, I find that works well, but for most people it is an unnecessary step, which increases use of the product which of course increases purchase frequency

Arnotts Biscuits (I think it was Arnotts) – On TV this week I saw an Ad for a certain supermarket that showed a recipe for a cake made of brand name biscuits. By encouraging consumers to make this cake which required a complete packet of biscuits, once again, more sales would ensue from the sheer number of biscuits needed.

Arm and Hammer Baking Soda – This example was drummed into me in my studies in America. Back in the day, the Arm and Hammer brand discovered that their Baking Soda was not only good for use in cooking, but could also be used as an odour stopper in the refrigerator. So readers what happened? YES! People used more of it but for a different purpose!

Note to self: I sure hope petrol companies don’t find a way to find more uses for petrol. That stuff is super expensive!


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