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Smart creative to win at eRetailers during Key Consumption Periods

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Retail Digital Media (RDM) is digital advertising that enables you to target online shoppers at the optimal moment of receptivity, a kind of online version of Point of Sale in brick and mortar stores. RDM is the most significant catalyst to online sales and its most basic form is the online banner which drives consumers to your product page or website. In what is a highly competitive and cluttered advertising landscape, you need to incorporate SMART creatives in order to stand out in a cost-efficient way. SMART creatives are even more important in driving higher returns on investment (ROI) during Key Consumption Periods (KCP) such as the Holiday Season, which accounts for 30% of retailers’ annual sales in the US[1]. While KCPs are a unique opportunity to advertise products to highly receptive shoppers at online point of sale, only adding a few visual cues to the banners will not make the cut.

During the 2018 holiday period, our team of RDM experts reviewed banners from some of the world’s biggest brands across three different categories – confectionery, breakfast cereals and fragrances. In terms of creative aspects, brands in all three categories have to overcome a number of significant challenges in order to win during this KCP. Firstly, they are competing with other gifting and high consumption categories. Secondly, they need to stand out in a cost-efficient way considering the inflation of media buying costs. Thirdly, they have to make sure they activate the right portfolio that will maximize a campaign halo effect on the total brand business.

In order to win during Key Consumption Periods, brands need to leverage SMART creatives to help maximize the ROI of ad dollars. Smart creatives consist of a few elements:

⦁ A strong category and brand attribution to help stand out in a highly competitive advertising landscape as branding visibility is often weak, especially on mobile display banners
⦁ Good strategic choices in selecting the right communication hero, such as new or limited edition products, and not overwhelming shoppers with choice
⦁ Specific messages and visual cues that make the hero particularly relevant for the period.

Below are a few examples of our experts’ analysis in the three categories:

Given that confectionery is one of the top items for consumption and gifting with more than 90% of Americans sharing or offering chocolate and candy as a gift during the 2018 holiday season[2], having good creative for RDM during this KCP is crucial for the confection industry. Lindt’s banner on Ocado offers a fine example of SMART creative.

Lindt at Ocado during December 2018

The Lindt banner has great category attribution and product visibility. It also effectively adapts its classic brand communication to the Christmas period with a good level of branding. Lastly, it offers a relevant choice of communication hero, showing the different flavors of a highly recognizable product range thereby reinforcing the idea in a clear and simple way that this is a gift that is suitable for all members of the family.

In contrast, improvements can be made on Doritos’ banner on Asda’s website.

Doritos at Asda during December 2018

While it does include a couple of good elements such as a visible call-to-action, a message driving relevance for Christmas and for Doritos’ target audience, it has a poor category attribution and counterproductive contextual placement, which is all the more important when the communication is adapted. The inappropriate context in which the banner is showcased – in Asda’s ‘100 Calorie Zone’ – could hurt the overall ROI of the campaign.

Our second category is breakfast cereals which, according to the research company Mintel [3], have seen sales decline by 11% over the past five years. However, sales of the cereals ‘Krave’ and ‘Coco Pops’ have seen a 19.8% increase that has been attributed to strong displays at seasonal peaks such as Christmas and the summer holidays[4]. Given that Christmas is associated with family and traditions, the festive season provides cereal companies with the opportunity to leverage new or revamped products or communicate holiday-specific heroes to drive category growth. Quaker’s Oat so Simple at Morrison’s offers an example of a good RDM creative.

Quaker at Morrisons during December 2018

In contrast, there is room for improvement in Kellogg’s banner at Asda.

Kellogg’s at Asda during December 2018

During KCPs, shoppers are more receptive to specific consumption messages and while Kellogg’s have made a good selection from the product range in choosing well-known products that satisfy the different members of the family, they could have added a stronger communication on the banner that was based on a specific insight linked to Christmas. For example, they could have employed the insight that families gather at Christmas and tend to have more time to eat together.

Fragrance is a top item for holiday gifting and also a great opportunity for brands to target their “regular” prospects with 21% of US shoppers planning to buy cosmetics, fragrances or health and beauty aids for themselves when shopping for gifts for others[5]. However, this category does have a number of specific challenges that brands need to overcome including how to trigger purchase intent online in the absence of physical interaction.

Chanel with their gift boxes at Boots UK are an example of a good RDM creative.

Chanel at Boots during December 2018

Chanel achieves strong brand attribution through clear, relevant and attractive branding. Their choice of communication hero is also highly effective as it includes a brand and portfolio communication which promotes classic SKUs for both men and women, a safe option for gifting. Lastly, the banner includes an enticing call-to-action, offering consumers the opportunity to “shop all giftboxes” in order to maximize the choices available to them.

A second instructive example of RDM creative is Joy by Dior, also at Boots UK.

Dior at Boots during December 2018

This banner includes a number of good elements. The choice of newness as the communication hero makes it both more attractive and stand out from the clutter. It also has a product name that is relevant for the season (Joy). However, the use of an unbranded banner is inefficient in driving awareness and brand attribution. In addition, there are no communication elements that specifically link the banner to the KCP to make it relevant to the festive season and there is no call-to-action which can make the shopper experience less smooth.

This short analysis is a reminder of the importance of a good creative strategy in order to drive higher Return on Investment, especially during Key Consumption Periods. However, for RDM to achieve its optimal potential, it also needs to be supported by sufficient expertise and negotiation skills, a solid strategy and a measurement plan. If you are interested in learning more about the large scope of Retail Digital Media and how it can be best utilized to promote your brand, take a look at our free webinar.

[1] National Retail Federation, 2017
[2] National Confectioners Associtation, 2018
[3] Mintel, 2018
[4] The Grocer UK: Breakfast Digital Featured, 2015
[5] Deloitte 2018 Holiday Survey


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