The holiday season influences most every business’s marketing efforts, few more than retail grocery chains. Each season has its traditional eats, so for a grocer to miss out on promoting how his store can help create them would be to accept a dark and financially thorny fate.
Efforts to play up the holidays start in store but extend to the Web in numerous forms. There’s the updated brand site, of course, but more valuable to marketers is the e-mail newsletter, which many chains use to deliver useful content, such as recipes and specials, to a database of loyal customers.
Here, chains can go hog wild with recipes for honey-baked ham or feature tips and images that make customers want to gobble up those oven-roasted turkeys. Given their stance as part magazine, part flyer, e-mail newsletters are an ideal venue for promoting a picture-perfect menu.
Smart marketers don’t only focus on creating seasonal newsletters. They also make certain their efforts are seen. One way to ensure this is to launch a supporting Internet media campaign with ads linking not to the company’s home page but directly to its online newsletter.
A Gift of Good Food
Food is almost always an appropriate holiday gift, and grocery chain Albertsons is taking full advantage of that this year with a gift-themed promotional ad campaign. Every week since the beginning of November, the grocery chain has introduced a new gift on its site and in its online newsletter, Fresh Ideas. The current holiday version is its fifth installment.
When clicked, a Flash-built present opens to reveal a new collection of online recipe cards and related cooking and baking tips. One week it’s cookies, the next it’s treats that can be given as hostess gifts. In addition to viewing fresh content weekly, site users can also access past newsletter issues, which are archived there.
The image of the holiday gift extends to Albertson’s display ads, which run simultaneously with banners promoting a holiday contest, the winner of which receives free groceries to host a holiday party. Put both creative iterations on sites catering to foodies, like Epicurious, and you’ve got an appetizing holiday campaign and seasonal solution to generating quality visits that stand to grow Albertson’s e-mail list and in-store customer base.
Off the Shelves and Onto the Web
Popular food brands aren’t sitting idly by while their retailers draw in the crowds. Some, like Kraft Foods, routinely update their sites with holiday content, whether it’s Easter, Halloween, or New Year’s Eve, and promote their new recipes on FoodNetwork.com online. Other brands don’t go as far as to reskin their pages for the season, but they make up for it with holiday ads in food, wine, and recipe sections of popular lifestyle sites.
Delicious in corn chowder and on sautéed shrimp, Old Bay Seasoning isn’t typically associated with holiday meals. But that hasn’t stopped the brand from doing its part to capitalize on the time of year — and its strategically placed display ads. Though its site remains the same, Old Bay’s ads on seaside lifestyle mag “Coastal Living” encourage consumers to give their “seafood something to celebrate.” In the same vein as Albertson’s campaign, the familiar Old Bay container bears a gift tag. It reads “To Shrimp, From You.” There’s nothing particularly festive about shrimp bruschetta, unless you’re in Florida. And Florida just happens to be Old Bay’s target market, making this a perfectly appropriate holiday message.
Holiday campaigns can work for every brand, whether the product is patently fitting for the season or the last thing you’d think to find on the kitchen counter on Christmas Day. The right approach, combined with the right creative and media buy, can deliver value to busy consumers and develop long-lasting customer relationships.
Now if only one of these brands could help you wrap up that holiday dinner for 10.
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