Philip Penlington is Director of Fotorama, one of the UK’s leading and longest established fixed fee promotions companies who work with many leading brands and agencies on all types of promotions.
Promotional merchandise linked with a major sporting event is always going to be popular with the end user.
The World Cup, in particular, has the ability to unite a nation and everyone will want to join the cause. Brands are already clamouring around to offer promotional merchandise linked to the event itself or any one of the 31 teams that have managed to get through to the finals – and there is still plenty of time to arrange a promotion.
However, brands will need to tread with caution when linking them to the event. Organisers FIFA put in place strict guidelines on copyright laws and any brand caught ‘offside’ will pay a heavy penalty.
Major brands pay ‘big bucks’ to be associated with an event of this calibre and FIFA will not allow anyone to ride on their coat tails free. Indeed, the World Cup will be a good test of how far marketing managers can push the boundaries when the London 2012 Olympic Games come to town.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that brands who can’t afford the official rights are unable to get involved or run promotions linked to the event. Rather, whilst non associated brands might not have the luxury of placing the coveted logo on their product or mentioning the World Cup they will have far more opportunities to show creativity, imagination and flair than officially associated brands who will be bound by legal stipulations on what can and can’t be said, used and done.
Popular promotions that we predict will be a sure winner with the public include those that offer a cash back mechanic. Allowing the consumer to predict the accurate score would be popular and allows everyone, regardless of which of the 31 teams they are supporting, to get involved and be part of the action. Only then will we start seeing some fantastic promotions that will catch the eye of the consumer.
Before launching a promotion, brands must seek proven expert advice on response rates.
If the last 12 months have shown us anything then it is that consumer attitudes towards promotions have changed for the foreseeable future and, as a result, even the most experienced promoter or marketer will find it difficult to predict the outcome of a prize promotion accurately every time.
It’s essential that brands consider speaking to fixed fee providers before launching a campaign to ensure that there isn’t the worry of over or under redemption.
The impact of an unexpectedly high-redeeming promotion will be felt right across the company. Extra budget will have to be found urgently for more rewards that may have to be bought and shipped at short notice and premium prices. Additional handling, fulfilment and delivery will be incurred along with extra demands on management time in arranging all of this.
If, however, a promotion under redeems then brands will be left with stockpiles of unwanted promotional products taking up valuable space in expensive warehouses.
Whichever way the promotion goes, whether it over or under redeems, the brand will be left in a difficult situation that could have been quite easily handled and managed by an experienced redemption expert.
Before choosing to work with a fixed fee company, brands must complete full ‘due diligence’. They should look at the company as a whole, at their credentials, experience, time spent in the industry and, most importantly, whether or not they have the financial stability, if a promotion over-redeems substantially, to be able to cover the cost.
Worryingly, many of the younger companies won’t have the financial stability to cope with the liability if a promotion massively over redeems which ultimately defeats the purpose of purchasing a risk management solution.
Furthermore, the likelihood is that many of these newer fixed fee companies haven’t worked long enough on promotions surrounding major sporting events such as the Football and Rugby World Cup or the Olympics and therefore will lack the credible experience needed.
Yet, brands are still choosing to work with them solely based on price, which could have detrimental consequences for a brand’s long term image and credibility.
The World Cup is an excellent opportunity for brands to run exciting promotions that will entice regular consumers as well as reach new ones.
However, the promotion needs to be implemented, run and managed properly if it’s to achieve its desired results.
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