Keep The Message Going When Products Go Home
There’s some swell cause marketing messaging on a great number of packaged goods products nowadays, but after the messaging gets in the home, then what?
This thought was promoted by a recent study from MeadWestvaco, which found that after people get a product home, they are less satisfied with the packaging than when they pulled it off the grocer’s shelf.
Think about it -- products like a can of soup probably get eaten in one fell swoop, while a box of cereal may last for weeks, and a tin of nutmeg might stay in the home for years.
In other words, a cause marketing message could be in the pantry for days, months, or years. Why wouldn’t the cause and the sponsor want to continue to interact with a consumer whose loyalty is proven? Naturally, you should put the pertinent URLs on the packaging. That’s an obvious first step.
Loyalty programs like My Coke Rewards, which has a cause-marketing component, are another answer, and a good one. In My Coke Rewards, Coca-Cola products come with a code inside each bottle cap or case. You sign up for an account and get points for each redeemed code. A bottle of Coke is three points, a 30-can pack of Coke cans is 25 points.
Get enough points, and you can exchange them for things like flowers from FTD, magazine subscriptions, more Coke, movie vouchers, Coke merchandise, and
more. You can also donate the points to your school or favored charity. Coca-Cola also runs a lot of promotions and sweepstakes through My Coke Rewards, including a number a number of cause-marketing
Several prominent cause-marketing efforts require you to send in a portion of the packaging to trigger the donation. These campaigns have their fans. I’m on the record for calling them antediluvian, mainly because all that paper has to be moved around so much. Campbell’s Labels for Education is decades old, so the market has pretty much voted in favor of them. It’s certainly true that I very much admire the interactivity of label collection campaigns.
Imagine, instead, packaging that featured QR codes whose destination changes periodically. So one time when you scan it you’re taken to a video site that explains the cause in greater detail, and another time you go to a contest site, and third time you get the chance to sign up for the cause’s newsletter. Scan all three and get a more-valuable-than-usual coupon or extra chances in the contest.
Naturally, you could turn the effort into a game, with check-ins, progression, points for achievement, timelines and deadline, levels, quests, and the like. The Cheesecake Factory teaches new chefs how to prepare a hamburger using a iPhone videogame. The ingredients to a Cheesecake Factory burger are all hovering at the top of the screen. The chef has to assemble the burger in the right order before they start falling to the bottom of the screen.
Purina ran a cause-marketing game to benefit AdoptaPet.com that was like the television game show “Jeopardy,” only all the questions were about dogs and cats. Donations accrued to the cause based on correct answers. Points accrued to the players on a leader board. There were no additional incentives to the individual. They played only for donations to the cause and pride. The Purina promotion lasted only a few weeks. But it could have gone on much longer to become an ongoing game.
Our marketing forefathers and mothers had this all worked out. Back in the day, companies like Ovaltine kept the lines of communication open with their customer base through media, and secret decoder rings, which offered the customer great interactivity.
All we’re missing is the right mechanism that allows the packaging to keep speaking to and with its customers over time.