Month: July 2017

July Hodgepodge*

July Hodgepodge*

Several items that caught our eye this month:

July 12th From Event Magazine (UK).   Pepsi launching a Ginger flavored cola (something I would like!) via a “sampling program” at 10 UK Universities.  Photo booth mentioned … not sure if one must engage in sharing media in order to try the product  – hopefully not.

July 6th.   I like this one only because I think EVERY liquor store opening ought to create such an option, appropriate to their own market of course.    “… store will devote a section to products sourced from New York wineries and distilleries and feature a dedicated tasting area for product sampling. “  This is about the opening of the Tin Woodman’s Flask 

July 6th  I find this very interesting – New CMO on June 12th and an announcement of this program in her third week!      Sampling is clearly not only for the new – witness Honey Baked Ham’s declaration that hence forth (over this summer at least)  Friday shall be Tryday!  An idea that I think can create some routine traffic (perhaps?) not every store will participate of course but “Customers can visit a local store from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.* to try a product sample for their next summer occasion.”

July 14th – From Canada – another example of the classic store opening approach.   “There will also be Giant Value product sampling for all to enjoy.”  An announcement of the next Giant Tiger store opening – this time in Charlottetown, PEI!

Friendly the Giant Tiger (CNW Group/Giant Tiger Stores Limited)

July 13th – Palm Coast Observer.    Love the headline “Shoppers rejoice for ALDI opening in Palm Coast”    “Just” another store opening notice – it seems they all do include “product sampling” in some manner in the copy but, interesting how in some cases it’s featured (if you will) and in others just kind of in there (as if it were expected/assumed)

July 11th – Australia based but participating countries involved include United States, Brazil, Poland, Italy and France.   As is ever more typical of solid campaigns this offers “a range of activities such as experiential and outdoor activations, product sampling, in-store point of sale, digital and print advertising, public relations and social media amplification.”    I am all for “an international marketing campaign celebrating intimacy.”  but  have these folks met the varied constituencies they might encounter here in the US?     I have to chuckle envisioning  the lawyers here trying to get the contest rules ironed out for “SKYN® Condoms is recruiting couples across the globe to enter a competition to win an all-expenses paid trip and critique the nation’s top intimacy locations.”    Oh, come on, if I don’t have fun with this one … no offense to anyone I just smiled when this one hit the data feeds I am collecting.

July 12th – Closer to home from Cleveland, our friends at Workplace Impact have a unique service that works to “serve the needs of restaurant owners looking to increase sales.”    These folks do a lot of interesting sampling programs and this recent article is included because of the 25th anniversary video (Feb, 2014) at the end of the article which really made me smile.


*noun   1.   a heterogeneous mixture; jumble.
Posted by jlarryburns in Press Releases & Coverage, Product Sampling, Product Sampling - EVENT, Product Sampling - LOCATION
Ummmm …. Remember that Australia “No Sugar Coke” program ….

Ummmm …. Remember that Australia “No Sugar Coke” program ….

Well, while I enjoyed talking about it as an example of a major sampling push (2 million samples for a county with a population of around 24.5 Million) .    Something tells me I might have jumped the gun and/or negotiations are taking place in the press.    To whit – it appears that Woolworths Limited* who control nearly 40% (2014) of grocery sales in Australia recently said this:

“We have taken the decision to not range this product at this time,” a spokesman said.     “Our customers looking for a no sugar or low sugar cola option have ample choice already. We continue to stock Coca-Cola Zero in our stores nationwide.”  For the full story click here

Kind of flies in the face of the big new sampling program to launch No Sugar Coke as a replacement for Coke Zero.   While you all known my affinity for sampling, and I do really find the Coke sampling plans interesting, reality is that without distribution in stores representing more than a third of grocery sales let’s all agree now to NOT judge the impact of the sampling program on a pure financial basis unless this minor little hiccup gets addressed – deal?


* YES. Woolworths for you out of touch Americans.  Which btw had no relation (except for the name which had not been trademarked in Australia!) to the venerable, yet now extinct, F.W.Woolworth chain that many of us grew up with.   Did you know the Woolworths we knew (stock symbol ticker Z, to give you a sense of it’s importance at one point in history) ceased to be in 1997?  The company focus moved to athletic equipment eventually became known by a major store brand – Foot Locker(2001) and the ticker symbol changed in 2003 to FL which it is today

Posted by jlarryburns in Product Sampling, Product Sampling - LOCATION, Product Sampling Ecosystem, Product Sampling- IN STORE

BrandShare® talks about Triple Digit Growth in Sampling !

In a press release issued today the folks at BrandShare (with help from Marx Communications) are reporting some great things about sampling!

Huge sampling growth!   Expanded retail partnership!  Billions distributed!   I expect this release should generate some solid interest for Brandshare and their product set.

Yes, rapid e-commerce growth continues to drive the Product Sampling Ecosystem  Discovery segment to ever new heights.   I am obliged to point out that the “triple digit growth” described in the headline speaks to what BrandShare’s internal numbers are expected to be and in fact reflect growth from 2013 – 2017 .   A really strong and utterly believable growth rate over 4 years – however it will be interesting to see how social media and the trade press pick up on this release and if they simply trumpet triple digit growth or if they apply any sense of context.

Also that 2.2 billion samples distributed figure mentioned which remains a wildly impressive number represents the total distribution count since inception (in 1984!).

What really resonated with me was in talking about BrandShare’s  E-Commerce Network ,the Walmart e-commerce sampling program is described as having expanded to 4 million sample packages a month.  To me that is the most amazing number in the release … because at that scale Walmart alone is distributing well over 50MM samples a year via e-commerce with 50MM being a wildly conservative number.  We do know many  “sample packages” contain multiple samples. (e.g. Walmart Beauty box my household last received had 6 individual samples.  Plus a visit to this one site within the overall sampling program clearly shows this particular discovery commerce box features a large number of samples/box) .   Hence its quite safe to talk about this program alone as distributing well over 100MM samples annually.

Given today’s hectic, bumper sticker sound bite, news world that we inhabit I suspect this story will be mis-reported,  Sincere kudos to the team at Marx for being creative in how they took this solid data and created real excitement with it and the Infographic is terrific.    The press release is certainly well documented and I have no reason to dispute any of the claims in fact I’ll  add it to the list of “suggested articles with interesting data”,  I’ll just think of this as an interesting experiment in actually critically reading ‘statistics’ versus just passing cool numbers along.

My favorite line from Doug Guyer’s quote “As television advertising declines and more consumers block online ads, sampling has become the best route to buyers’ hearts.”  and with that statement I most heartily agree!   In this era of dwindling attention a sample carries far more multi-sensory impact than any other form of marketing- period.

P.S. the infographic shared with the release is quite a piece and well worth of a look:



Posted by jlarryburns in Press Releases & Coverage, Product Sampling, Product Sampling IN HOME