An equal opportunity promoter
Target took it to some leading brands in its weekly ad on Sunday where it devoted a full page to a side-by-side price comparison between its Up&Up brand and leaders of their respective categories such as Clorox, Similac, Reynolds Wrap, Tums, Jergens and Nyquil. It was the second week in a row Target has promoted Up&Up in its weekly circular except last week, the brand was featured on the cover with a reminder that Up&Up offers “unbeatable prices on over 900 quality products every day.”
In the price comparison from this past week, featured brands included:
Clorox 75-count disinfecting wipes for $3.99 vs. $3.59 for 75-count Up&Up.
23.2-oz. Similac formula for $21 vs. $18.89 for 40-oz. Up & Up.
200-sq.-ft. Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil for $7.49 versus $6.34 for 200-sq.-ft. Up & Up.
10-oz Nyquil liquid for $4.99 vs. $2.99 for 10-oz. Up & Up.
21-oz. Jergens Ultra Healing lotion for $5 vs. $4.14 for a 21-oz. Up & Up lotion.
96-count Tums antacid vs. $2.49 for Up & Up antacid.
Now the conventional wisdom offered by Mommy bloggers and advocacy groups such as Consumer Reports is that the use of store brands represents a smart money saving strategy. Consequently, appearing in a side-by-side price comparison ad of a major national retail would have to be regarded as a nightmare scenario, right?
Well, the answer is not as obvious as it might seem for a couple reasons. Purchasing Up&Up represents a risk for many consumers who have a prior history with Nyquil and know it will alleviate their cold symptoms or that Jergens will make their hands soft or that Tums quiets an upset stomach. There is also the possibility that the featured national brand might actually be cheaper or about the same price for a consumer in possession of a coupon. And speaking of cheap, Up&Up tends to look cheap when photos of the store brand are placed next to those of national brands in a print ad, all of which makes being selected for inclusion in a side-by-side comparison not such a bad place to be.
A “Magically Delicious” cereal promotion
Five limited-edition General Mills brand products hit the cereal aisle at Target stores this week as part of limited duration promotion that features package designs from the 50’s, 60’s and 80’s.
Brands and the year of the featured packaged design include Cheerios 1956, Trix 1968, Honey Nut Cheerios 1984, Cinnamon Toast Crunch 1984 and Lucky Charms 1989. The package designs were chosen based on a national survey conducted by General Mills.
“Retro is so in right now, whether it’s clothing, cars, games or packaging,” said Lindsay Backer, associate marketing manager for General Mills. “We’ve seen great success with this promotion the last few years and continue to build on that with the packaging and promotions offering families fun and memorable breakfast experiences that evoke childhood memories.”
The promotion is being supported with ads in Target circulars, which appeared this past weekend, promotional space at check lanes in all stores, blog outreach featuring retro trivia contests and radio promotions across the country.
Online room for improvement
Wells Fargo retail analyst Matt Nemer put several leading retailers to the test this week with an innovative approach to research. According to Barron’s, he went on a $5,000 shopping spree on the websites of some of the largest Internet-only and traditional retailers. He said Amazon.com offered the best shopping experience, and he rated the retailer at outperform. Walmart.com was said to have higher prices than Amazon’s, but had strong customer service and didn’t showed up as well in searches. Target.com meanwhile had questionable customer service, and the company didn’t show up well in searches. According to Barron’s, Nemer characterized the Target.com online experience as poor, while he said he was pleasantly surprised that Walmart.com is making strides online. Nemer initiated coverage on Walmart at market perform, writing that the company’s multichannel selling strength is tempered by its lower return international investments and increasing competition from dollar stores. Target is in the midst of major overhaul of its online systems and shopper experience that is expected to be ready for the 2011 holiday season.