Monday, September 21, 2009

P&G: Marketing Needs to Work in the Store.

When I was at Ketchum Advertising in the late 70s, and working on Safeway, we came up with a great idea and took it to our client, certain that it was a winner.

We suggested a "Paper Sale." A lot of people stock up on paper towels, toilet tissue, facial tissue and the like - we opined - and why not cut prices so that all of them could stock up while shooping at Safeway? We even pushed the envelope by suggesting that stationary, magazines anf books be included.

When the "pitch" was over, while they were very kind about it, they let us know how bad an idea it was. "That'd mean we'd have to stock a lot of paper to back the sale," said somebody.

"And all of it comes in big, huge boxes," said somebody else.

"And our backrooms don't have the space to handle all those big boxes and still be in business," said a third somebody.

"But thanks for thinking outside the box," said the boss - and everyone laughed. I think with us, not at us.

An article in today's AdAge Online begins, "If it doesn't work at the store, it's no longer a good marketing idea for Procter & Gamble Co., which increasingly is driving home this concept, known as "store back," with all its agencies, not just its so-called shopper-marketing shops."

And while it about more than store operations (per our Safeway fumble) the truth is that the shopping experience is crucial to brand performance. Here's the whole story.