Metaverse, Price Inflation Featured In Most-Read CPG Insiders

A year ago, six of the top 10 most-read CPG Insider columns were about CBD, THC or tobacco—but that dwindled to just one (CBD-related) column in 2022.

This year, the subjects of the metaverse and the real economy each scored two of the top 10, along with two recaps of presentations that took place at MediaPost Brand Insider Summit CPG events.

Leading the pack was the most traditional campaign story in the bunch: a look at how oat drinks pioneer Oatly was using old-fashioned out-of-home media to spread its brand messaging in places like the New York City subway system.

The best way to summarize the narrative is this quote from North America executive creative director Heidi Hackemer: “There’s something amazing about the tangibility of OOH and, also, the wow factor in a world where everyone is spending way too much time looking at these glowing, pixilated screens.”

In the #2 spot was a writeup of a presentation by two PepsiCo. Inc. executives explaining the soft drink giant’s engagement with the esports community. Central to their account were the audience size for the game Call of Duty—bigger than every single Marvel title ever released—and the less-than-appealing fact that gamers are a highly brand-averse community..

Landing at #3 was a column in August that charted the negative impact of inflation on restaurant dining, which led to positive results for at-home eating and private-label CPG products.. Data from NPD Group and IRI showed that on a per-occasion basis, eating at restaurants was more than three times as expensive as eating at home.

The fourth most-read column dealt with General Mills’ launch of a loyalty program called Good Rewards, encompassing all of its 45-plus brands.. Among the benefits to General Mills was that Good Rewards obviated the need for the CPG giant to maintain separate loyalty programs—and apps—for each brand, and provided access to first-party consumer data.

Doctor-recommended skincare product claims by L’Oréal’s CeraVe brand  were challenged by Neutrogena marketer Johnson & Johnson, the subject of the fifth most-read CPG Insider column this year. In a case before the National Advertising Division of BBD National Programs, the outcome hinged on the reliability of the methodology used in surveys of dermatologists on behalf of CeraVe—which prevailed.

“We spend a lot of time looking at the methodology of surveys like this. These kinds of claims have a huge impact on consumer purchases,” said NAD vice president Laura Brett.

In sixth place was a look back at consumer CPG-purchasing trends during the Great Recession—which began in December of 2007—and how the impact of COVID-19 might compare in the walkup to another potential economic downturn. The column was published in mid-April, when inflation had hit a 40-year high. One major difference was that during the Great Recession, not all product categories saw price increases. But supply chain disruptions during the pandemic spread those increases out.

One of two metaverse-related columns that made the top 10 was #7, which detailed Unilever’s entry into the virtual world for its Degree deodorant and Magnum ice cream. For one, Magnum hosted a virtual museum during the MET AMS metaverse festival in Amsterdam showcasing original artwork from its collaborations with painters, designers and sculptors.

In 8th place was a column that chronicled 84-year-old donut brand Krispy Kreme’s supply chain revisions for delivering fresher products to retailers. Under a new business model, some of 120 Krispy Kreme facilities serving as “production hubs” were able to deliver products to retailers daily. In some cases, freshness yielded about a 50% increase in retail pricing.

Number 9 was the second column dedicated to the metaverse, describing a Chobani presentation at the MediaPost Brand Insider Summit CPG held in November. The vehicle was a custom-built game on the Roblox platform to reach consumers ages 18-34. The brand decided its entry into the metaverse would focus on testing and learning, as opposed to correlating exposure with sales lift.

In 10th position was a treatise that explained how CBD skincare brand Cannaluxe used ads containing QR codes on connected-television platforms to generate awareness and traffic for its launch in 21 Neiman Marcus stores. Ads were served on networks including CBS, NBC, Bravo, HGTV, Food Network and FX.

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