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What Brands Can Learn from Pepperidge Farm & Frank’s RedHot Summer Cross-Promotion

What has your brand done differently this summer to stand out on the shelf? As many shoppers have been eager to return to their in-store shopping habits it’s created a hyper-competitive market for brands all vying for attention. One unique approach that’s been successful for a number of major brands this summer has been cross-promotional campaigns.

You’ve likely seen one of these before – two brands collaborating to create one product in order to market to a new audience, create new revenue streams from licensing, and expand the reach of their brands. From the Yoplait Skittles you likely did a double-take on in the yogurt aisle, to the Krispy Kreme flavored SmartFood popcorn you’ve been dreaming of at night – there are great examples of cross-promotional campaigns out there right now. We’ll expand on the definition below.

What is a cross-promotion in retail? Simply put - it’s the practice of two non-competitive brands building a strategic partnership to increase awareness and drive sales by cross-promoting each other’s products and services.

Why do brands choose this strategy? A cross-promotional campaign allows both brands to reach new untapped audiences and consumers that may be familiar or interested in one of the two brands and now have a reason to explore the other brand involved in the cross-promotion. It also creates a new revenue stream for brands that may have tapped a ceiling on product sales by introducing licensing fees.

What makes a cross-promotional campaign successful? This question is more tricky to answer in one paragraph, so we’ll use the highly successful Frank’s RedHot Goldfish as our case study to uncover what makes these campaigns thrive.

Franks RedHot instoryGraphic

Pepperidge Farm x Frank's RedHot

Below, we’ll explore how Pepperidge Farm and Frank’s RedHot teamed up for a limited-edition snack to broaden the audience of Goldfish to a more adult consumer market with the summer’s hottest new snack, Frank's RedHot flavored Goldfish crackers.

In order for a cross-promotional campaign to drive major awareness for both brands they need to align on a few key areas:

  1. Branding and marketing. How these brands work together from a branding marketing perspective. 
  2. Retail activation. What challenges their field teams might face in executing in-store.
  3. Tracking and measuring success. And how Pepperidge Farm and Frank’s RedHot track success.

 

Branding and Marketing

What makes for a strong partnership between two separate brands? A key piece of the puzzle is finding another brand that works well with yours and allows you both to leverage each other audiences. The other key piece to make a partnership work is having the logistics in place to handle all the marketing and branding for both brands.

These spicy fish swarmed into stores nationwide this past May and seem to be a hit with adults. Frank's the brand Frank's is all about living your spiciest life and they promote that through a playful and funny brand which comes across right away with a quick visit to their website.

Screen Shot 2021-08-17 at 3.54.12 PM

Just by reading some of their copy, you can quickly tell by their voice and tone that they don’t take themselves too seriously in a playful yet charming manner. They’re definitely oriented towards an older, adult demographic. Whereas, Goldfish, a Pepperidge Farm brand, and a subsidiary of the Cambell’s Soup Company, is more of a very family-oriented brand, known for being wholesome, and great kids food. Together, they merged for an exciting collaboration that included some online hype through social media as they brought some life to its static packaging.

 

Cait Will, Vice President of Marketing at Repsly explains that what makes these seemingly different demographics work so well together is that adults – specifically parents – love Goldfish too. By listening to who most likely does the shopping in the household, it was incredibly savvy to play into the wishes of the adults. 

“It's not obvious on the surface why these two brands came together, but when you think about it through that lens that this mashup is very much oriented towards the adults, the older demographics, and all those secret goldfish lovers who steal their kids’ goldfish at eight o'clock at night when they're in bed, then it all makes perfect sense why these two brands came together,” Cait said.

 

Retail Activation

What are some of the challenges and opportunities that field teams face when executing a cross-promotional campaign in-store? Hagen Panton the VP of Global Retail Development and Training at Nutrabolt believes that the biggest challenge is, “Getting people that work in those different categories to work simultaneously together to get the product to the store, get it out on the shelf, and get that display looking as good as possible.”

Another critical focus is where the products hit the shelf the reason for buying. What are the occasions for buying this now and how does that compare to their traditional products? For example, if they've introduced a new flavor; if there's a different reason that somebody is going to be purchasing that flavor; where might it want to be in the store compared to where that traditional flavor is going to be? There are many considerations like that that will change how they interact with the shopper in different parts of the store.

frank's redhot goldfishFrank's RedHot Goldfish at a Target located in New England.

What is a field sales team thinking about when executing a cross-promotion? Hagen felt that they nailed the collaboration but fell a bit short on its in-store execution. He argues the product was a perfect match for cross-merchandising near the beer and liquor aisle. Goldfish were founded at places where people drink beer, where adults drink alcohol, that's who wants this limited edition product. “You take your cases on the bottom, put your goldfish on the top or string them down. I think that there's a huge opportunity with making sure that this is accessible at eye level to an adult. Hagen even suggested Goldfish target the adult market even more aggressively with a Cheddar Goldfish flavored beer. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see this collaboration next summer...

 

Frank Brogie, Repsly Product Marketing Manager (and not related whatsoever to Frank’s RedHot), also pointed out the low shelf placement of these limited edition Goldfish. He explained that this positioning still really leans itself toward the secret Goldfish parents who are potentially shopping in bulk for school lunches, sees it, and tosses it in the cart – but not necessarily seeking it out or finding a new audience.

“While Hagen explained how this could’ve been leveraged as a way to find new audiences, in its current state, it’s probably more of a cart-builder for an existing audience,” Frank explains. And in states where there are stricter limits on selling alcohol in grocery stores, these Goldfish could be cross-merchandised through dump bins or cardboard shippers near products associated with parties, like plastic cups, silverware, and paper plates.

 

Tracking and Measuring Success

How do both brands track and measure the success of their campaigns? For each of the brands participating in the campaign, ultimately everybody wants to boost sales, but in order to do that, there are a number of things that have to happen. 

Matt DePaolis, Chief Customer Success Officer at Repsly explains, “You need to generate awareness and convert that to buying opportunities. And then you need to convert the sale as well. Meanwhile, you need to make sure you're doing that with a partner that's going to support your brand initiatives to make sure that it's still on brand and it's driving in the right direction.”

How are Pepperidge Farm and Frank’s RedHot tracking and measuring success? They’re using data to take action. According to Janda Lukin, Campbell Snacks Chief Marketing Officer “hot and spicy” was the most requested Goldfish flavor with more than 35,000 requests. Lukin also said that only 50 percent of Goldfish are actually eaten by adults. While that may surprise a lot of folks, it sprouted an opportunity to reengage and directly target an older adult demographic.

For Pepperidge Farms, success can be measured by sales and throughput for 18+ consumers. And for Frank's RedHot, success can be measured by capturing consumers as a snack, playing off of barbecue season which is right around the corner, and getting more of that mind-share by piggybacking off of the massive distribution that exists out of the Pepperidge Farms and the Goldfish consumers.

Watch the recording here!

The post-pandemic boom will be a pivotal moment for many brands. What can you do to make sure your brand stands out amongst the crowd? In this webinar, we’ll break down a handful of cross-promotion campaigns that have caught our attention, discussing what’s worked regarding branding, promotion, and retail activation.

Ben Weiner

Ben is Repsly's content marketing manager, focusing on digital storytelling through blogs, video and podcast production, and social media. He recently served as Bullhorn’s senior content marketing specialist and is also the founder of InVision Media, a video production company that helped small businesses promote their message. Before joining the workforce, Ben was the captain, president, and social media manager of the men's ice hockey team at the University of Maryland. In his spare time, he enjoys rollerblading with his dog Chewbacca, watching the Boston Bruins, listening to classic rock, and playing competitive games of Settlers of Catan. Follow Ben on Twitter: @bennybyline.

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