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March 26th, 2024

March Retail Highlights

Spring is in the air in the UK this month, and with the Six Nations, Mother's Day and St Patrick's Day taking place, brands were going all in with their activations, including temperature dependent promotions and live thermal imaging creative, as well as some very antagonistic advertising from challenger brands taking on the big names.

Mother's Day Round-Up

Supermarkets have been flourishing with Mother's Day takeovers, aisle fins, shopper promotions and limited edition products, giving consumers a variety of options when purchasing the perfect gift.

Quaking in the Cold

"Environmental data is more available than ever, allowing promotion mechanics like this one by Quaker to be realised. I love the link between a cold day discounting a warm bowl of porridge. It would be great to see brands using this kind of data to power promotions more often.” - GC View

Quaker Oats offered consumers the chance to ‘warm up this winter’ with a clever and engaging live thermal imaging campaign. 

  • Digital OOH and specially adapted bus shelters displayed real-time temperature data.
  • By scanning a QR code consumers could receive a discount and save on their next purchase.
  • Discounts were based on the UK average temperature data at the time of entry – the colder it is, the bigger the discount! 
  • Campaign located OOH in Kingston upon Thames.

Vinterior vs IKEA

"Big, bold, typographical executions, some of which shout you to action ‘YOU'RE...’, ‘PROVE...’ while oozing confidence. I'd question the use of a singular image in case it's not to viewer's taste, but with blanket ad coverage this might not be an issue.” - GC View

Vintage furniture marketplace Vinterior rolled out a playful OOH campaign across the London Underground. Incorporating a bold and confrontational tone towards the flatpack furniture behemoth IKEA, the billboards even referenced the infamous Swedish meatballs.

  • Vinterior's research reported that Brits waste an average of eight days building flat-pack furniture, with nearly 10 million tonnes of furniture ending up in landfills in 2018.
  • To offer a sustainable solution, Vinterior launched a new ‘re-sale platform’ to enable members of the public to sell their second-hand/vintage furniture.

BrewDog Plays Dirty

"Yet another ballsy campaign by BrewDog, strategically challenging the market leader right at the home of rugby. I particularly liked the clever and engaging copywriting showcased throughout this campaign." - GC View

BrewDog's Black Heart stout, launched last year, continues to challenge Guinness' market share with their rebellious marketing ramping up for the Guinness-sponsored Six Nations.

  • A blind sampling event asked rugby fans to choose between Guinness and Black Heart, resulting in a tally of 318 to 330.
  • Accompanying this was a takeover of ‘The Scrummery’, a pub near Twickenham stadium, where the venue was renamed to 'The Black Heart’.
  • BrewDog also introduced a 'Great Guinness Glass Amnesty’ at their pubs, allowing visitors to exchange their own Guinness-branded glasses for a complimentary glass of Black Heart.

Blooming Botanicals

"The simplicity of the header really helps the display stand out during a time when there is a lot of 'busy' POS in-store. As a gin-lover, I can say the shelf blocker showcasing the Japanese botanicals is a great way to draw in consumers and encourage purchase." - GC View

House of Suntory's Roku Gin launched its Sakura Bloom Edition 6, the first limited edition gin inspired by the Japanese flower and world-renowned Hanami festivals.

  • A bright, fresh and minimalistic cardboard-engineered header and display celebrated the start of spring.
  • Shelf blockers were used to highlight the six unique Japanese botanicals and taste profile of the new flavour, reflecting the name of the gin (Roku), which means ‘six’ in Japanese.
  • Captured in Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Waitrose stores.

Choctastic 200 Years

"Cadbury is celebrating 200 years in style. Aisle and bay takeovers capture consumer attention, while the nostalgic vintage packaging builds an emotional connection with consumer's memories of the brand. The raft of promotions across multiple retailers and channels make this a great example of a 360-shopper campaign to drive engagement." - GC View

Cadbury marked its 200th anniversary in 2024 with a 'reflection' campaign, aiming to remind consumers of their shared moments with the brand.

  • The in-store campaign featured a large aisle vinyl and bay takeovers showcasing the iconic pack's evolution over the years. The packs were re-released to reintroduce classic designs to store shelves.
  • A promotion in Sainsbury’s offers the chance to ‘Win a Chocolate Hamper’, while a Tesco text-to-win promotion provides opportunities to win experiences.
  • Cadbury Hot Chocolate also offers the chance to win a limited edition chunk mug or 1 of 5 £2,000 cash prizes.

Happy Horlicks

"This is a really smart brand partnership that speaks directly to the target market and equally encourages new shoppers into the category. Love the serene Zen-like motifs and colours, really appealing!” - GC View

Horlicks teamed up with Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy Place’ wellness app to offer consumers a chance to win foodie, glamping or spa breaks.

  • The on-pack, purchase necessary promotion offers all consumers the chance to trial the app free for 3 months, scanning their barcode to verify purchase.
  • The prize pool includes 10 weekend breaks, one drawn per week during the promotional period.
  • The promotion runs until 31st March, culminating in a final draw that offers the chance to win a free annual subscription to the app.

Cookie Quest

"A great pairing of iconic brands, executed well with branding on the cookies and on-pack. The partnership has engaged with consumers digitally too, with fun games and prizes." - GC View

Oreo have teamed up with Pac-Man to release six special edition cookies, featuring unique packaging designs to accompany the scan, play, win promotion.

  • To enter the main draw, consumers scan a special edition Pac-Man cookie and try to score 300 points in the Oreo-themed Pac-Man game. An alternate entry method requires consumers to input a barcode number.
  • The prize pool included keyrings, mini arcade machines and a full-sized Oreo Pac‑Man arcade machine!

Dial Up Your Style

"Personalised campaigns serve as effective catalysts for engaging individual consumers, and got2b's visual execution is very good. However, optimising incentivisation strategies, such as offering chances to win from a curated selection of recommended products, or presenting fun facts and data insights, could enhance engagement and add value to the campaign." - GC View

Haircare brand got2b offers consumers the chance to unlock their style and discover recommended products by scanning a QR code in store.

  • Shoppers scan to visit a vibrant microsite and complete a quiz to unveil a 'match made in hair heaven' product recommendation tailored to their hair type and preferred style.
  • The campaign displayed at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots with colourful branded shelf and tray strips.

Preggs for Greggs!

"Olly Murs is certainly ticking all the boxes, satisfying his wife's pastry cravings AND creating a witty surprise celebration. I especially love the drop-in of Olly’s lyrics. What a fun way to level-up the baby shower occasion!” - GC View

Pop star Olly Murs surprised his wife Amelia with the perfect baby shower, thanks to a collaboration with Greggs. Dressed as a giant sausage roll, he made a surprise appearance at their local village hall.

  • The food truck attracted guests' attention, giving away free Greggs and the 'MURS' letter blocks reinforced the brand’s personalised offering.
  • Preggs branded pastry bags featured playful messaging such as 'Satisfying your pastry cravings' and 'Caution: Your heart will skip, skip, skip a beat'.
  • Olly shared a video on social media, declaring "Unlimited Greggs is just the best!"

Fresh New Look, Same Great Taste

"If you haven’t seen this campaign (at least in the UK), you must have been locked in a basement! A great example of a mass media takeover. Traditional OOH meets digital meets experiential. Bold, upfront and everywhere. Full marks!” - GC View

Pepsi unveils a nostalgic yet modern rebrand, with new packaging debuting in March.

  • The design blends classic elements with a contemporary look to attract younger consumers, aligning with the 'Thirsty for More' campaign, which focuses on enjoyable moments.
  • Celebratory light shows and digital art installations showcase the new design at 13 landmarks worldwide, from London's O2 to the Nile River.
  • The integrated marketing campaign also includes TV, radio, out-of-home and experiential elements.

Paddy's Day Party Bus

"There is such an opportunity for brands to own occasions and this is a great example of how to do it well. The perfect combination of a brand partnership with a respected and well-known Irish star, sampling, giveaways and a big PR piece wrapped up as a pub tour showing how the brand also works in the on-trade.” - GC View

Jameson Irish Whiskey hosted a special branded bus tour through the heart of East London on March 16th.

  • The branded double-decker bus, featuring a Jameson cocktail bar, was promoted by brand ambassador Aisling Bea.
  • Consumers had until March 8th to enter the Instagram competition for a chance to win a seat on the tour.
  • The tour stopped at prominent Irish pubs and included an Irish Coffee masterclass before concluding with a St. Patrick's Day party at Boxpark Shoreditch. The bus was also stationed outside King's Cross Station, offering free drinks and giveaways.

Shank-Patrick's Day

"This campaign maximises social reach and engagement by blending innovative promotions, influencer collaborations and seasonal festivities into a comprehensive marketing strategy. Having this approach not only enhances brand visibility and encourages product trials, but also capitalises on the celebratory spirit of St. Patrick's Day to foster community and connection among consumers globally.” - GC View

Irish whiskey liqueur Shanky's Whip celebrates 'Shank-Patrick's Day' with a month-long global campaign, aiming to establish Shanky’s Whip as the drink of choice.

  • Gift packs, unique POS and promotions boosted off-trade sales while brand engagement was driven through sampling, out-of-home and experiential activity.
  • A catchy 'I'm a Little Shanky's' song targeted influencers and promoted suggested serves on social media.
  • As a partner of Birmingham’s St. Patrick's Day parade, a mural in the city also aimed to raise brand awareness.