Spokescharacters on TV, mobile phone circulars and a shopping cart Kinect prototype. All competing for consumers. Which is most valuable? Which offers a lasting connection? Which will pocket the cash? These answers and more…in this week’s post. Sounds like the opening to a reality show doesn’t it? I suppose it could be if you had agencies competing, but this is my post and we’re here to talk real life examples and their positives and negatives.
1) First up, spokescharacters on TV and Spam’s ‘Sir Can-A-Lot.’ Yes, spam’s agency has rolled out a spokescharacter to celebrate 75 years and its name is ‘Sir Can-A-Lot’ http://bit.ly/zCMgjS.
The positives: Spam is meat in a can, and they’re seeking to inspire people to spice up meals by adding spam. What kind of character typically saves the day? A knight, which is exactly the character chosen. It makes sense, and so spam wins some points there. Will it attract attention? Possibly, if anything because it’s new and different.
The negatives: Cartoon characters are becoming a turnoff for adult consumers, and this is spam’s audience because they are the ones cooking for their families. Just look at all the backlash about recent car insurance ad characters in a recent car insurance commercial. Cartoon characters? Not the best motivator for these consumers.
The verdict? Least likely of the three to rake in the best results. Sir Can-A-Lot doesn’t immediately make you think of spam, and isn’t likely to motivate consumers to buy it popping out of an egg carton. What spam should be doing? Some type of contest featuring recipes with spam and online voting via their social media site for the most creative one and best tasting one.
2) Whole Foods’ Kinect shopping cart prototype. Whole Foods is testing the Kinect technology on shopping carts as a way to ease the shopping process http://bit.ly/y9KrbD. The technology identifies loyalty card shoppers, scans each item placed in the cart and checks out customers.
The positives: This could be a platform for advertisers, as their ads could be featured on the screen as customers shop. It would be the most profitable for stores and could even be called The Smart Cart. The convenience factor is another plus, as it even crosses items off your shopping list, essentially managing the whole shopping process for you.
The negatives: As it currently stands, this concept is quite futuristic and threatens jobs, which is not likely to make a big splash anytime soon. Also, as it doesn’t currently feature ads, it’s missing an opportunity to stand out.
The verdict? More likely to attract shoppers than Sir Can-A-Lot but a little too futuristic to be relevant in today’s economy. Also, without ads it’s missing a crucial selling point.
3) Mobile phone circulars a la Walgreens. Walgreens has partnered with LocalResponse to make the mobile check-in experience more like a circular http://bit.ly/AiWxPt. When customers check-in they are pointed to special products and given coupon incentives.
The positives: This idea has a lot of potential. First, companies who implement it can emphasize their efforts to go green. Getting customers into digital circulars would reduce or eliminate paper ones, saving paper and boosting their position. This idea also involves more direct interaction with consumers at point of purchase. The closer to point of purchase the better the outcome.
The negatives: Lack of targeting. The article mentions Walgreens’ partnership with Halls and how check-ins direct customers to Halls in-store. However, that’s not always what consumers have come for or need. The other offer mentioned is a coupon for batteries, which is generic enough that its widespread use isn’t a stretch. Still, no excuse for not targeting via customer history. Pointing you to common items you buy that are on sale or offering up a coupon for the same? Now we’re talking.
The verdict? Certainly more effective than Sir Can-A-Lot. However, this concept still needs some work. It’s the closest of the three because of its use of mobile and mobile being the go-to shopping device.
The overall verdict? Out of the three, Walgreens wins. When it comes down to technology versus personality, especially with these three examples, technology has the edge. Personality may draw people in but the interactive and convenience qualities of technology make it more accessible and effective.