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Retailers rein in brands' digital spend

News, 20 November 2015
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LONDON: Major supermarket chains want the comfort of TV campaigns to reassure them they should be putting brands on their shelves, and a leading marketer has said this stance is preventing it from fully exploiting digital channels.

"When you go to trade, they still want to see [from your media plan] that you are on ITV or Channel 4," explained Katalin Spielman, head of media for Johnson & Johnson, the personal care business.

"It's easier for them to see that you're spending enough money on a marketing campaign," she told a TubeMogul event reported by The Drum.

To an extent it was always thus as the major chains have looked to brands promoting their products to supplement their own marketing efforts and drive consumers into stores.

But it has become a particular issue recently in a fiercely competitive UK grocery market, where the major chains are rethinking their strategies as they look for ways to combat the rise of discount chains.

Only this week, Kantar Worldpanel reported that the combined share of discount retailers Aldi and Lidl had reached 10% of the British grocery market for the first time, double that of only three years ago.

One response of the majors has been to reduce the number of items they stock. At the start of this year Tesco's new CEO said he planned to pull up to a third of products off its shelves, while Asda has indicated it will cut 10%. "You need to fight for shop space," said Spielman.

And that means convincing supermarket buying teams that TV need not necessarily play such a prominent role in the media plan in a world where cross-device campaigns are becoming the norm.

"There's an education that needs to happen from brand side to trade," Spielman admitted and she suggested that better content would help.

"The more interesting content we can create that lives cross-device the easier it is to solve," she added. "[Trade] understand that we have these great insights into Johnson Baby, but they need to fall in love with the campaign – that's easier than trying to explain that it will be seen by this amount of people with this frequency."

Data sourced from The Drum, Kantar Worldpanel, The Guardian; additional content by Warc staff

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