Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TV + Direct Marketing + Website = Good IMC (but no sale)

Lately I've had a chuckle from the ongoing series of advertisements for Fiber One cereal. Perhaps I've paid closer attention because my husband is hooked on this brand thanks to word of mouth from a friend.

Or perhaps I just enjoy the interaction between the characters in the ad:

There's the generic "customer guy." He doesn't believe the Fiber One product actually contains fiber, so much so, that in the latest commercial he's caught writing an "N" in front of the "One" on a store's cereal boxes to create the name "Fiber None."

There's the blank-faced,confused "stock boy" who can't answer the customer's question: where's the fiber.

And finally, my favorite character, the smooth "store manager," a handsome older man (actor Ajay Mehta) with an intriguing accent, who demonstrates how delicious the cereal is by eating it on camera. "Cardboard no. Delicious, yes," he says.

A newer version of the "Fiber (N)One" commercial takes the company's marketing effort fully into IMC: it offers a free sample if you visit the opt-in landing page on the company's website.

I clicked lower left on the free offer section and was taken to an opt-in landing page where I was invited to create an "Eat Better America" profile that asks for name, address (of course to send the free sample). It also asks for my e-mail address and birthdate (so now they're creating a database with some basic demographic information about me). In return I get the free sample of cereal and a Fiber One bar and an automatic sign-up for the "eatbetteramerica" newsletter.

So, in one fell swoop you've got mass media advertising (TV), a direct marketing offer (the free product), and Internet marketing (the driver to the website and sign-up)all rolled into one.

That said, I didn't end up signing up. I'd love to get the free samples, and I wouldn't mind receiving additional discounts. But I already get a lot of e-mail pitches from companies and I'd rather not sign up for another.

It got me thinking about how they could have made the offer better so that I signed up. Keeping the offer the same, maybe if they told me up front how often I would receive e-mails would have calmed my fears about being inundated with more unwelcome e-mail. They could have changed the offer to increase the value of it -- for example, driving me to the website for a coupon or code to get a free full-sized box of Fiber One the next time I go shopping. In terms of campaign cost, eliminating the need to mail me the sample might have been a wash with the increased cost of giving a full-sized box. They could have simply sent me a free sample in the mail or included it with my Sunday paper. This might have increased trial of the product, but it wouldn't have helped them build their on-line presence and customer database, and there might have been media waste, since some of the mass market that receives the free sample might not be interested and throw it away.

I'm going to assume that the company has really smart marketers who thought long and hard about how to structure the offer and then tested it beforehand. Bottom line: in my opinion it's a great example of what integrated marketing can and should be.


Heidi M said...

OK, I laughed! That's a clever campaign.

Anne said...

Thanks Heidi -- I liked it too.