Start Licensing’s Ian Downes moves from post office to stationery store, picking up licensed promotions along the way in this week’s Licensing Lookout.
Running my own company has turned me into a multi-tasker, taking on anything from visiting the local Post Office to send things through to topping up our stationery cupboard.
It was while doing the latter task that I spotted an interesting promotional partnership – I bought some Our Earth printer paper. I was interested to see that the paper company has established a promotional link with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Our Earth, which is made by UPM, will make a donation to Durrell for every purchase made. The Durrell Foundation has a long history in conservation work and this partnership is helping to fund the Trust’s efforts to support threatened wildlife globally.
It wasn’t clear what the value of the donation per product sale was, but there was a feel good factor in purchasing this brand and I picked the brand because of the partnership. A good example of how an on-pack promotion and partnership can influence a purchasing decision.
Also a clever mover by UPM in adding more interest to a product category which can be quite sterile. Often we buy products like this based on convenience or price so it is good to see a manufacturer trying to change those dynamics.
Promotional partnerships are a key feature in licensing but can go under the radar. In fact I have often thought that some manufacturers, particularly those in competitive sectors, are missing a trick by not engaging with licensing. In the current climate I think licensed promotions could really help brands create sales momentum and achieve standout.
Of course, a promotional partnership needs to be well thought through and developed carefully. Ideally there should be a strong creative connection between brand and licence. There should also be a planned approach to the partnership with a long-term vision.
Aardman has been working with Little Yeos Organic yogurts for some time now. I believe the latest promotion is the fourth in a series of promotional partnerships featuring Aardman’s Timmy Time brand. This in itself shows the potential for promotions to have longevity and to become integrated with a brand’s plan.
In the case of Timmy Time, the characters feature on product and packaging including a series of Timmy Time activities printed inside the product sleeve, while the promotion has a further dimension with Aardman and Yeo Valley working together to deliver online content such as animation clips and downloadable activity sheets.
The promotion has an overarching theme linked to organic farming and the environment. Timmy Time is being used to help Little Yeos convey a campaign message and in this context it is easy to see how a well-known character can help draw attention to a campaign theme. It is good to see licensed promotions like this succeeding in the long-term.
FMCG is traditionally one of the heavier users of licensed promotions and I spotted another example this week with Del Monte Fruit linking with the new Netflix series, Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous.
Presented under the campaign theme Dinosaur Challenge, consumers could win a family trip to Universal Orlando resort. This is a relatively simple and traditional promotion, but it is a reminder that in a competitive medial on-pack promotions can be a valuable way of promoting new series in particular.
Within a crowded category like tinned fruit having a strong on-pack promotion can make a difference and helps brands like Del Monte compete. As the competition requires consumers to sign up online it is also a way of capturing data and building a direct relationship with consumers. For FMCG companies having the means to have a direct dialogue with consumers is arguably going to become increasingly important. Licensed promotions can help them create that connection.
Promotions and partnerships can come in a variety of forms. For example last weekend The Mail on Sunday ran an in-paper promotion with the National Trust. The paper printed an eight-page pullout highlighting the National Trust’s 50 Greatest Hidden Gems linked with a promotional offer that saw it giving away 50,000 free day passes to National Trust properties.
For the Mail on Sunday this is a strong promotional offer, combining interesting content with a compelling offer. With 50,000 tickets up for grabs it also a very engaging one for readers. The National Trust is, of course, a well-known organisation and has an in-built appeal. Working with a national newspaper is great exposure for the Trust and, of course, at the moment is a very direct way of telling the public that the sites are back up and running.
Newspapers face challenging times at the moment and again I think there are good opportunities here for licensing to play a role in promotions with newspapers. There has been a tradition of newspapers using promotional partnerships to help sell papers and I remember 20 plus years ago at Copyright Promotions that there was a dedicated team member whose role was largely to sell promotions to newspapers.
It is also good to see product licensees promoting and advertising their products. Sometimes even the strongest licences and licensed products need a push.
The Royal Mail has been running press advertisements to showcase its DC Comics Batman Stamp Collection. The collection itself is a really strong one with characters like Batman, The Joker and The Riddler featuring in the range. I spotted the advert in The Times and it certainly caught the eye. Sometimes in licensing it is good to have a partner that is prepared to market their licensed products in a proactive way and this is a real benefit to a brand.
The Royal Mail has really embraced licensing well over the last few years, running some fabulous collections but also taking a really positive approach to marketing the products. It is great to see an organisation like the Royal Mail recognising the value of licensing and the role it can play in their business.
In the spirit of multi tasking I am just off to the Post Office now to do some post and will make a special effort to try to use some of the Batman stamps. We all have to do our bit to support Licensing PLC at the moment even if it means using a ‘rivals’ stamps!
Ian Downes runs Start Licensing, an independent brand licensing agency. His Twitter handle is @startlicensing – he would welcome your suggestions for what to look out for.