FMCG SMART-Drop case study

by Rick Pullan on 26/06/2013

The brand need

New Covent Garden Soup is a premium quality soup made fresh every day and distributed for our delectation through your favourite supermarkets.

There are 29 original recipes, carefully crafted in the Soup’s kitchen by expert cooks, that are packed full of flavour with healthy, natural, tasty ingredients.

Although they invented the category, several competitive brands have emerged giving the consumer even more taste and price comparison choices.

Our challenge was to address:

– how to deliver a breakthrough sales increase by extra consumer penetration and repeat purchase

– how to encourage target consumers to recruit and keep NCGS in their repertoire

– how to maintain a sensible pricing strategy versus increasing pressure for cut price shelf deals

– how to create a promotional model that could be easily replicated when proven.

A seemingly impossible task unless you spend many millions on constant TV advertising to build image and iconography!

The timing required was peak season Q4 to coincide the annual TV blast. We had less than 8 weeks to get to market.

Key strategic considerations

The only shopper marketing activity that had been done was in store price related activity and / or in store magazine feature.

Everybody knows that constant price discounting is a no win scenario, except for the consumer, who just waits for the next price drop.

At the time robust research such as the IPM / Simon Kucher / fastMap ‘The Path to Loyalty, In Place of Price, Taming Price Discounts’ was not available, revealing over £3 billion of wasted post-price promotion.

If we could get an tangible message to people most likely to want the information, BEFORE they reached the supermarket, with an attractive taste bud stimulating brand message, from the original inventor of the category, that would be powerful.

We could then push them online for further involvement, but the priority task was to first get something in their hands.

We did not see on pack activity as the solution, as people are already at point of sale and we wanted to be in their psyche before then.

We needed to measure the effect on sales that would prove or disprove the model for roll-out.

We chose to recommend door drop marketing, or what we call ‘direct promotional advertising’, because we could message target consumer households, in target store catchment areas, and track sales.

It is critical to position door drops carefully because too many marketers pigeon hole it as tactical old hat versus online digital & social media (which we also considered, and integrated).

Nothing is further from the reality and truth, as this case study will reveal.

We shared results from other fmcg activity completed with Premier Foods brands which reassured the client to run test activity.


We used Mosaic to select target households from the 65 usable types.

Waitrose provided the required target catchment areas.

We selected ‘test stores’ for door drop advertising leaflet distribution.

We chose TLC because the SMART-Drop distribution solution minimised waste (from the traditional postal sector targeting of 2.5-3K households) and maximised reaching target households (using ‘round’ targeting of 150-200 household clusters (see visual in PowerPoint).

We created a shaped die cut leaflet reflecting the shape of the soup carton (response from ‘shaped’ is up to 6 times that of ‘straight’ A4 or A5).

The leaflet was a quality advertising, tactile piece that got the taste buds going BEFORE people reached their supermarket.

We tested different voucher values and combinations to create a sense of urgency to encourage purchase. The ad created intrigue, the journey continued online if the consumer wanted it.

See the accompanying PowerPoint (right) for visuals.


Door drop leaflets (and samples where relevant) are an advertising technique, so voucher responses are only part of the results story.

Many more people buy because of the leaflet’s advertising effect and don’t use the voucher.

So we measured TOTAL sales through the test Waitrose stores versus a control panel.

See the results in the PowerPoint presentation (right), but a sustained 50+% growth in consumer repertoire purchase is pretty meaningful, significant & breakthrough.


The Management Accountants gave the thumbs up because the campaign created net extra profit.

The model was repeated in the following peak season for Waitrose and then in the 2012/3 peak season around Sainsbury stores (see PowerPoint visuals).

NCGS has a proven ‘out-of-store shopper marketing promotion model’ that pulls through sales from target consumers around specific stores of Accounts that will cooperate and stock up to provide extra display – that’s down to the quality of the National Accounts team!

The message is clear for FMCG – if selected UK households are your target market, you have to test harnessing the power of SMART-Drop marketing.

You can start from as little as £20K to get up to 50K households buying. Remember that door drops are advertisements; if good they will change consumer behaviour in your favour (see PowerPoint visuals – right)


Rick Pullan

MD of TBDA (True Business Data Activation from The Business Development Agency)

Activating customer data to help brands increase their sales & profits for approaching two decades.

This article was written by...

– who has written 3 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.


Contact the author

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: