Friday, October 14, 2005

Sainsburys Milk Gives You The Runs!

Supermarkets are the acknowledged masters of Customer Profiling. They aggregate huge volumes of data on purchasing patterns of millions of individual customers, and use it to carefully tailor special offers, in-store promotions and even how to organise the layout of the store.

A supermarket data centre can crunch the numbers and find hitherto unknown links between buying patterns for different, often seemingly unrelated products, and use it to maximize revenue and generate valuable new sales.

So, given these things don't just happen by accident, why have Sainsburys chosen - from all their 20,000+ product lines - to put a special offer for super-soft bog roll onto a carton of milk?

Effective advertising is about either:

  • offering to meet an existing customer need in a better way - your average Camden tramp buys Tennants Special Brew because it gets you smashed much quicker than normal larger,
  • creating a previously unknown customer need - classic example being the ipod. No-one needed one before they were invented, but now Apple's brilliant marketing has cleverly begat the ipod as a "must-have" desirable gadget
  • placing your product at front of mind at exactly the time it is needed - you would only buy a kebabs at 2am because that's when you neeeeed one right now - its not for their healthy nutritional value or intrinsic elegance - and luckily that's when they are for sale.

Applying these principles gives us the three following possibilities:

  • Sainsburys milk creates unforeseen gastro-intestinal effects that may give you cause to buy hitherto unimaginable quantities of (super soft) toilet roll.
  • People who buy milk at Sainsbury's generally don't wipe their ars-s properly, probably because they are too stingey to buy sufficient loo roll, so having a 50p offer may tempt them to enter the (highly profitable for Sainsburys) world of top-drawer anal hygiene.
  • People who shop at Sainsburys are in such a hurry in the morning they eat their cornflakes on the bog.

Do they know something we don't ...?

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