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Coke targets meals in shopper marketing

News, 21 September 2016

AMELIA ISLAND, FL: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, is using shopper marketing to help promote the fact its brands can be the perfect accompaniment to mealtimes.

John Mount, VP/National Retail Sales Customer Marketing at Coca-Cola USA, discussed this topic at the 2016 Shopper Marketing Conference, an event held by the Brand Activation Association (BAA), a unit of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

"We've identified what the big revenue opportunity is here," he said. (For more details about this strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Coca-Cola's shopper marketing targets the dinner table".)

"Sparkling beverages consumed at home is a huge business [worth] $28.2bn [a year]. And, within that, meals represent $10bn; snacking represents $1.8bn."

Drilling down into this subject, he reported that shopper marketing efforts based around eating meals could assist Coca-Cola's retailer partners in achieving valuable objectives.

"When you look at a lot of our customers' fresh, prepared meal sets, or buying any item in the deli, in a given 52 weeks … it's like 30% of households are buying one item in a given year. So it's a huge opportunity for us to help them in an area that they've invested a lot of capital," said Mount.

The reverse situation holds true, too, as many people who do buy relevant mealtime items frequently opted against buying a beverage to go with it.

"It's remarkable to me how often, when we look at the retailer stats, [people] buy a fresh prepared item at a Kroger, Safeway or an Albertsons, and it's not accompanied by any beverage," Mount revealed.

"We also go exceptionally well with food: It's a huge brand equity that we've got, and we've got to take advantage of it, and pair it with food every chance that we get."

Through bundling mealtime and Coke products together, Coca-Cola can also reduce the reliance on traditional "price and item" discounts and instead use shopper marketing to add genuine value for consumers.

"Our biggest issue that we face with our retailers is that they want to diminish us always to price and item, and diminish our brands to being commodities. And they are not: They are great brands," Mount said.

"We can't afford to let these brands just go down the path of price and item. We've got to make sure that we go down the path of having a strong value proposition that really connects with the shopper."

Data sourced from Warc