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21 Apr 2008, 11:59PM PT

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Strategies For Cadbury Schweppes To Engage Consumers And Promote Its US Retail Channels


Closed: 21 Apr 2008, 11:59PM PT

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Cadbury Schweppes sells a wide variety of beverages in the US including brands like Seven-Up, Dr. Pepper, Snapple, Motts, Hawaiian Punch, Canada Dry and A&W. The company is looking for ways to go beyond the normal web offerings of online coupons, and they want to create real value for their retail partners -- using the internet to drive customers to those retailers.

They want to focus their efforts on their top retail channels in the US, like Kroger, Safeway, Food Lion, Albertson, Stop & Shop, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, YUM, 7-Eleven, CVS. The key goal is to find ways to use Cadbury Schweppes brands as an asset to bring shoppers into the stores (not just to buy Cadbury Schweppes drinks). Don't limit yourself to just focusing on drinks. The ideal project drives more interest in getting shoppers into retail partners, increasing the overall amount of consumer spending.

What innovative and new ideas are there for engaging shoppers with retailers & Cadbury Schweppes brands online that can translate to added profitable sales for retailers? Please describe specific examples of strategies that could be employed, and estimate budgetary and return on investment factors for any proposed solutions.


16 Insights


Driving online consumers into brick-&-mortar retail locations can often be a challenge.

My suggestion would be to create independent channel-centric websites with catchy names,
such as "freestuffatfoodlion.com"; then have the retail channels to prominently display several
attractive links to these sites both online and, at the brick and mortar locations.

These websites would offer a buffet of coupons, but with a somehat different delivery mode.

  1. Printing coupons can be tedious and often tricky; additionally bar code printing on many
    consumer-grade printers is unreliable, and most consumers know this.

  2. The coupons that the user selects would be delivered electronically to a retail channel's
    store (location selected by the consumer), and would be available for either printing
    there at the store or immediate conversion to an in-store credit card applicable only to
    the promoted products.

  3. This would:


    • Push consumers to the physical store to pickup & use their coupons instead of
      printing them and then misplacing them, or just "setting them aside for later".

    • Prompt users to return to these specialized websites to check for new coupons,
      creating a self-generating market.


Matt Jansen
Mon Apr 21 5:27am
It sounds like this would essentially simplify how consumers find and redeem coupons, through in-store kiosks? I wonder if there's an application for this idea in the form of sending those coupons to mobile devices as text messages.

For example, a user might request a message sent to their phone for $.50 off the next purchase of Snapple. It might also be an opportunity to offer additional opt-in communications as the user is requesting the coupon. Then, after receiving the text message coupon with a unique redemption code, the user could visit the retailer and show the text message.

There might also be a spin to a tactic like this toward green-oriented consumers who like to avoid using paper unnecessarily.
Bill Burke
Mon Apr 21 6:22am
Hi Matt,

I thought about a mobile delivery, too.

One of my employers is in (sort of) the
SMS business and I looked into that a little.

A pure "text" message would be tough to verify
unless a special code that the retailer could then
confirm was included..

I also thought about a MMS coupon but that would
force the consumer to both download then print the
coupon at the store which didn't seem real viable.

The in-store kiosk with the coupon ready-to-print,
seemed the simplest, most universal & reliable process..

Bill Burke

Cadbury Schweppes should use something called Interchangebale Master Channels (IMCs). There are hundreds of IMCs, which are called "pods", lawyered across the public Internet in the dot-com name space. Each and every IMC perfectly resolves (connects with the public Internet) in the dot-com name space.

IMCs coincide with almost every imaginable generic as well as brand name product or service. The channels work at level three. However, when a RELEVANT brand brand chaannel is attached to a (IMC) master channel, the brand channel - in this case it would be http://schweppes.colapod.com - thus allows the Schweppes brand itself to assign a PROPRIETARY dot-com address for EACH AND EVERY ONE of its distributor/retailers in the form of, for example, http://schweppes.colapod.com/distributor where "distributor" redirects back to the main Schweppes corporate web site, but otherwise is unseen by the public at the main corporate web site.

Cadbury Schweppes can thereby do TWO things that are relevant to its problem: (1) assign a SEPARATE brand channel for each one of its brands: e.g., sevenup.colapod.com, or canadadry.colapod.com, or drpepper.colapod.com and so on and so forth across all the related brands and all of which will immediately and perfectly connect in the dot-com name space; and (2) also assign a dot-com address for each and every one of its distibutor/retailers in the form of, for example, myname.colapod.com.

As to focusing its marketing efforts on the main retail channels - ie., Kroger, Safeway, Wal-Mart and so forth, all Cadbury Schweppes Corporation then has to do is ask its webmaster(s) to arrange with the top retail channels (where it wants to promote its brands to potential LOCAL consumers at the retail end)  -- to place a relevant hyperlink with the appropriate dot-com address for each one of the related Schweppes brand names on the web site(s) of the related retail channels where it intends to advertiser. (For example, the Safeway.com retail channel would have a hyperlink called http://sevenup.colapod.com IF Schweppes intends to promoote Seven-UP on the Safeway.com web site.

Thus, an Internet potential customer ALREADY AT Safeway.com has only to click on the related Schweppes promotion and the customer will be blind redirected to the Schweppes promotional web site at, for example, http://sevenup.colapod.com. When an online customer cliock on the sevenup.colapod.com hyperlink, the redirected URL will then  display a complete list of ALL Schweppes retailer/distributors, in all locations and all countries with appropriate hyperlinks that themselves redirect back to the appropriate FILES for each retailer.

 ALL related folders and files are kept in the server database at Schwepps Corporation at the main ncorporate web site. It is thus feasible, by using the IMC dot-com architecture, for Schweppes Corporation to keep COMPLETE control of all the promotional information that goes to end user shoppers in a central location at Schweppes Corporation web site, even though in each and every case the end user who clicks, say, on the hyperlink(s) from (a) the top retail channel, say Safeway; to (b) sevenup.colapod.com; to (c) local retailer/distributor anywhere in the world will be ppromptly and appropriately redirected to promotional information for EACH AND EVERY retailer/distributor anywhere in the world in any language that Schweppes intends to use for promotional purposes.

That's all there is to it. In summary: (1) All Cadbury Schweppes brand colas redirect to the appropriate brand channel in the IMC network, say, sevenup.colapod.com; (2) All top where retail channels where Schweppes intends to promote its own brands contain an appropriate hyperlink in the promotion for each brand name, say, drpepper.colapod.com; (3) All top retail channels that contain the promotional hyperlinks redirect (end user) consumers to the appropriate Schweppes brand channel located in the server side files and folders at Cadbury Schweppes main corporate web site; and (4) all Cadbury Schweppes brand channels thereby have promotional hyperlinks that redirect consumers to a SEPARATE local retailer/distributor web site for a Schweppes brand cola product.

Cadbury Schweppes can contact me in care of Derick Harris at the following address - adpods@aol.com - if it requires technical information and assistance as to how to set up its own network of Cadbury Schweppes brand channels. There are hundreds of dot-com master channels of various kinds layered across the public Internet. I hope this helps Cadbury Schweppes Corporation deal with its problem. The IMC network can also accommodate almost every related food - i.e., Cadbury chocolate bars - also produced by Cadbury Schweppes.


Derick Harris 


Tel: 808-282-5642




James Durbin
Mon Apr 21 12:56am
I like the technology, but Derick, I'm confused as to why consumers would go to the national websites to look for local coupons.

Any marketing strategy would have to be local, at least to a city, to fit into advertising and geographic restrictions. This allows Cadbury to market large coupon campaigns, but I don't see how it benefits the stores.

It does sound like cool technology, though.
Matt Jansen
Mon Apr 21 5:58am
I can see some value in placing keywords in the domains which would help drive organic search traffic, and incoming links could work toward increasing pagerank, but what content would belong on these pod pages keyed to partners? Would it be duplicate/repurposed content from already existing Cadbury Schweppes domains (e.g. http://drpepper.com, http://snapple.com etc.)?

Would a user feel justified in clicking through to a site like this? The ratio of quality information vs. marketing hype would drive that snap judgement and predicate their first action (dig deeper or leave).
Joseph Hunkins
Sat Jun 7 12:50am
Derick - what is the advantage to this over simply using their own domain names with separate subdirectories as the landing pages for the brands? Are you talking domains or directories here? Do these IMCs have much authority at Google for ranking purposes or are you establishing new subdomains which must build their own authority?

As a man with a wife and her cravings, I would think a online map of what location is selling what product could be extremely useful and mutually profitable. Imagine, it is 3 in the morning and the wife wants Hawaiian punch in a can. Instead of driving to 6 gas stations / stores looking for Hawaiian punch in a can, one could hop online and know directly where to go.  Now, not only is the customer satisfied, but has been directed to the store of your choosing. 

Cost should be fairly low. It would be a matter of mashing up store locations and inventory with an online map source.

Expanding the idea: Instead of needed to go to Cadbury's website, integrate the maps with google, yahoo, msn. When a consumer types in a product they are looking for, the first result is map of nearby locations selling them. 

Benefits- Low cost. Drives customers to stores. Ease of use for the customer. Directed marketing for chosen store.

Disadvantages - Consumer must be previously interested in your product. 

Bill Burke
Wed Apr 16 7:59am
I like elyokiem's idea - a fast lookup, and an assurance the customer can go to the nearest store carrying that product;
complete with directions if they need them!
James Durbin
Mon Apr 21 12:59am
This is a great idea, but it's really only feasible if you can get the local community to do the work for you. There are lots of them, and the question is how to get the store working with individual consumers.

It's not in their best interest to do so, either. If I go to Kroger in the middle of the night, I may not get Hawaiian punch in a can, but I'll get whatever's there (depending on how big of a craving).

This would have to be a grassroots thing - a wiki set up for the local populace. Not sure if stores would go for it, though but I like it!
Craig Lauer
Mon Apr 21 5:37am
I don't think it would be all that difficult. It would just be a matter of matching regional distributor's order and supply information to a mapping system. The stores would not have to be involved any further then their normal purchases.

The real beauty of the idea is that advertising could be further targeted to the customer based on which store they are looking at.

Just think, a customer is trying to find that Hawaiian punch -in a can- at 3 in the morning, is able to find a store carrying it, and oh, by the way, here are some coupons for peanut butter ice cream and pickles...

I know I could have used a tool like that several times in the past.
Matt Jansen
Mon Apr 21 6:04am
This has potential, but I think there needs to be a fair breadth of products captured in the database before advertising it much. If a user goes to the site/mashup and searches for a product they're interested only to see 0 results, they're unlikely to come back or talk about the site positively (e.g. bloggers looking for emerging startups and initiatives like this).


A start-up for which I have done some public relations and positioning work has created a technology that works as a Google Map mobile mash-up.  In a nutshell, the company's techology allows geographical locations to be virtually "tagged."  When friends/members of one's community come close to the location, their mobile phone alerts them to the tagged message, which could be text, photo and/or video.  

Remember, the messages hang there at a location...invisibly.  (It's especially good for forewarning your social network about a particularly bad restaurant or good retail deals.)   

So the idea is to have Cadbury "tag" its retail partner locations with messages that incent (with product deals) those passing to stop in the store.  Now of course, the more users the more valuable the service becomes.  The company already works with Facebook and My Space, but as the open social movement takes hold, the service will be able to offer even greater value...in numbers.


Peter Himler


Bill Burke
Sat Apr 19 9:42am

This sounds interesting..

Do you havr a URL for this .. ?
Peter Himler
Sun Apr 20 5:51am
sure. send me your email, and i'll forward.

James Durbin
Mon Apr 21 1:01am
Mobile tagging would work best for places like McDonald's and 7-11, but you do have to be careful. Broadcasting coupons in most cities won't work unless people are walking by. And if it's in the suburbs, they're already coming in.

People are touchy about their mobile phones. It's best to start with a text club and see if they want to get messages.
Peter Himler
Mon Apr 21 4:47am
Please note that the mobile phone user can manage the alert function, and that tagged locations are viewable and searchable via a map on the application's website.

I'd be curious to learn if any data exists to back up the statement that "mobile tagging would work best in McDonalds or 7-11."

It's unclear from the original query which demographic of "shoppers" or "customers" Cadbury seeks. If it's young people, I suspect a geo-tagging, social-networked mobile application could potentially be very powerful.
James Durbin
Mon Apr 21 1:23pm
flatiron - that was my thought -

McD's and 7-11 because of the youth. They are the most likely to be using the phone to buy individual products. it would be hard to imagine a mom managing her cell to get coupons with a larger list.

With the ever increasing number of social networks, blogs and homepages on the internet the possibilities of engaging customers both in the internet as well as the real world are also increasing.

The use of "badges" (http://www.web20badges.com/) is becoming more and more the "norm" these days and through events one can often see the same badges being worn by attendees. Typically these have been reserved for the technical fields and online web services however and innovating consumer market took also take advantage of such badges as well. 

The goal would be to encourage both the online use of these badges as well as a customer being able to collect such badges at the local retail stores as well.

For the online portion: 

Making the badges easy to download (simple graphics) as well as providing the online hosting of the graphics making it easier for the customers to simply add them to their MySpace, Facebook, etc. pages and profiles would simplify the process. In this regards costs are relatively low the largest portion needed for design of the graphics, secondary would be a internet server to host the images letting users simply link to graphic(s) of choice. Proper naming of the graphics will help to increase search visibility and the distribution of the images by customers will increase product visibility, which could lead to your customers creating their own Facebook fan pages, or other social network fan pages which would show a larger return on product loyalty than creation of those pages and sites by Cadbury Schweppes.


For the Physical portion:

With so many products around the world and not all being available worldwide the creation of the physical version of the online badges would  drive interest and attention. For example if I am in the US, say in Florida and I go to my local Wal-Mart and am able to get a "Wal-Mart Dr. Pepper" badge then I could potential trade that badge with someone in the north parts of the US who has a "Kroger Dr. Pepper" as I don't have access to a Kroger myself, likewise if I want to trade it with someone in Germany who has a "Hit Dr. Pepper".

Using interesting graphics in the form of either trading cards or "badges", there is a chance for capturing the interest of the younger crowds who are already active in for example trading cards games such as Magic or Pokemon.  This option is naturally a much higher costs most likely in the range of 500,000 to 1,000,000 initially depending upon the variations and amounts of per location/retailer/product.

Getting started:

A feasible starting path would of course be targeting 3 specific products in 2 different retailers. The craze of turning comics into movies of late it might even be beneficial to create "super hero" versions of the product images to capture the younger generation. 


Specific measurements may initially be difficult but through hosted images one can quickly see how many users have linked to those images as well as how often the images are displayed, providing a "community" for chatter around such products one could also engage to determine how many users have how many of the various physical versions of the badges. 

Many of the sites under the Cadbury Schweppes umbrella are already doing some innovative work on the web. Some notices:

  • Snapple.com immerses visitors in a virtual world complete with sound effects, video, and games. It provides an experiential snapshot of what Snapple is all about, which likely makes them curious about the products showcased.
  • 7UP.com provides a niche appeal with its E-Burp campaign
  • Motts.com focuses on providing quality information and recipes with opportunities to receive regular updates through its online newsletter.

Some challenges retailers face online:

  • Price, online shoppers are more likely to price shop because it’s convenient to visit other sites.
  • Convincing customers to try new products or repeat buy, again because it’s easy to order from competing sites before getting to the store
  • Providing value for coming into the store vs. shopping online
  • Helping customers find items quickly in the store
  • Encouraging impulse buys

Online Channels with Links to Retail Stores

  • Social Networks
    • A key space for an initiative like this one, which is trying to drive traffic to a local store. Social networks by nature identify members by location which provides a unique opportunity to reach out with offers and quirky humor.
    • Develop identities in these spaces, and create conversation. Humor or unique angles are great catalysts for this. As an example, consider Burger King’s http://subservientchicken.com/. It’s unusual enough to create buzz in the blogosphere and attracts regular incoming web traffic.
      • One opportunity might be to create a wacky character like the Snapple Fubear who has a MySpace page with lots of friends and blog entries/videos of adventures into local retailers where Fubear acts out dares handed out by friends.
      • The goal is to create intrigue and entertainment, giving the online community something to talk about, and building mindshare at the same time.
  • Wireless hotspots sponsored by . . .
    • Surfers searching for hotspots would find this information quickly and appreciate the brand name tied with a valuable service
    • This also has a unique draw to physical store locations
    • A brief sponsorship message could display
    • Hotspots could be installed for a $1000 or less and 10 megabit down speed would cost around $70/month per site.
  • Partner with retailer initiatives online
    • For example, Wal-Mart provides a comprehensive list of recipes. It may be possible to offer an expansion to their database but include some brand name items in the ingredients list.
      • Building on this idea, after gaining an understanding of their underlying technology, it might be possible to develop a much more comprehensive recipe management system which could then plug into Wal-Mart’s existing infrastructure.
      • Branding placement would become a key discussion point.
    • Though not in your list of partner retailers, Meijer also recently launched a MealBox campaign which drives at the online community pushing in-store sales nicely: http://www3.meijer.com/mealbox/mealbox-guide.html, which would be another opportunity to add value.
  • Establish bottle recycling centers at local stores (that don’t already have them) to encourage repeat visits and buys.
    • This merges with the green trend pervasive right now, portraying the retailer and brand as responsible global citizens. And, it brings buyers into the store more frequently.
    • Initial investment and maintenance costs for an initiative like this would be higher, but the opportunity for creating goodwill in local communities is significant.
  • Create branded credit cards that when used at partner retailers, accumulate points redeemable online
    • The types of products available online become big influencers and should include things like iPods, iPhones, Tivos, branded merchandise and clothing that is in style, McDonalds gift certificates etc.
    • This would require establishment of partner agreements with banks and credit card companies, but has the potential to create a very personal relationship between consumers, retailers and Cadbury Schweppes brands.
  • Advertise on sites focused on serving local content
    • For example, Yelp.com provides listings and ratings of local businesses. It could be an opportunity to advertise a local sponsored event or provide quick access to a coupon for use at a local retailer.
  • Store/Restaurant locator on existing Cadbury Schweppes sites
    • Direct consumers to local locations that sell branded products (e.g. get your 7UP fix NOW, at McDonalds on Main St).
    • Development costs could vary on this initiative depending on the size of the database and segments targeted (e.g. casual diners at McDonalds versus a household shopper who both have specific action points).
  • Customer ratings
    • Provide system where customers can rate products and others read, then direct to local stores based on IP address
    • This could take the shape of a completely independent site without overt branding, for example http://ownyourfood.com/ (available as of 4.19.2008).
    • Some creativity would be helpful in gathering input. Ideas: installing kiosks in some restaurants for customers to rate certain foods, allowing feedback via text message, gather feedback via voice transcription from a cell phone, or gathering input through surveys on a platform like the Nintendo Wii Vote channel where results are tabulated and shared for all participants
  • Create FUN
    • Free in-store samples for those who visit online and print certificate, makes them feel like they’re getting a unique deal
    • Allow customers to explore product online, sound and animation, let them almost taste it and build anticipation
      • Snapple.com is a great example of this, allowing visitors to zoom in by region, then by taste, all the while feeling like they’re in a virtual world
      • A retailer
  • Other opportunities that may not immediately appeal to retail partners, but warrant exploration for promoting Cadbury Schweppes brands.
    • Online Radio
      • Advertise alongside streaming audio sites, potentially interact with DJs
    • Gaming
      • Providing virtual drinks for players in games like World of Warcraft (over 9 million subscribers now), Lord of the Rings Online, and HellGate: London would attract interest, especially if brand names were displayed subtly. But, this channel could be a struggle to relate back to retail partners
    • Podcasts
      • Ripe market with growing audience, waiting for more advertising dollars
      • Inexpensive (under $100 for most podcasts) to pay for a 15 second ad every 15-30 minutes.
    • Blogs
      • Approach popular blogs and ask if they use any of your products. If so, they could mention it casually alongside or within their main site content.
      • Casual mentions like that have staying power with a dedicated readership, especially if it’s genuine.
    • Recipe sites
      • Ideal picnic experience, ingredients for a fun outdoor experience
      • People look for tips and advice
      • The key with this idea is to link recipes with a particular experience and that experience with a brand.
      • Making recipes easily shareable through e-mail and embeds for social networking sites would also encourage growth.
James Durbin
Mon Apr 21 1:06am
I like the WiFi idea.

Careful working with blogs - i wouldn't approach popular blogs unless you were a blogger yourself. We get enough bad pitches.

Radio and Gaming are great advertising possibilities.

Which idea would you start with, and how would you build on success?

What communities are there around these drinks, and how can they be captured? For instance, Snapple should have lots of appeal among certain types of people, who might be interested in promotions like deli sandwiches at reduced price when buying Snapple.

But the key is to get the shoppers to come to the stores and participate in activities. What kind of activities depends on the stores, the drinks, and the shoppers. The person who buys Snapple is not intersted in the same thing as the person who buys Motts, for instance.

Ultimately, however, it is about making the community engage itself, and for the store to facilitiate it. This means extending activities which stores likely have, such as tastings; but it also means creating new activities. Here, cross-promotions are probably the key. How does Schweppes leverage a cross-promotion of its premium brands with a Bond movie? Getting that to happen means the buyers will feel they are part of a community, and that they participate in something by drinking. Choosing cross-promotions and product placement opportunities wisely will help. Of course, this is marketing 101.


To do that, there are a number of different tools, from normal web pages to Facebook groups and everything in between. Facebook has become somewhat diluted of late, and it is by no means certain that the people the brand wants to reach are all on that platform. The brand of the platform itself also creates a perception of participatin in something. For instance, users of Facebook perceive that they have different values than users of Myspace - even if the service in reality is the same.

Hence, it would make sense to use some of the aspects of the brands to create furtner participation. For instance, Snapple has a bit of hippie cred; use it to promote an OpenSocial widget on Facebook. Try to get into the open source movement as much as possible (dr Pepper also has a viable perception). Give away cases of drinks to hackathons, and arrange the hackathons yourselves. Even if there is no formal relation with Google, that would mean riding on their coattails (and they can hardly stop it anyway). Maybe becoming the "preferred supplier of the Google cafeteria" would actually work.

Leverage that in helping developers work for you. For instance, make it easy to make mashups whcih provide something which includes the drinks ("hippie community snapple consumption", or "premium bars serving Schweppes in Boston"). Do not let the marketers run the campaign. Tney will prioritize design over function, locking up the value in ways where people who want to mashi it up can not use it Perhaps "mix it, mash it up" can be the theme in itself.

Then, help store owners with tools, prepared activities etc to make this work. But those are standards. The key is engaging the community and making it work for you.

Hope this helps


The key thing about online interaction is that it's becoming increasingly personalized. Whereas 50 years ago, everybody read the hometown newspaper and cut out coupons from the Sunday paper, today people are increasingly finding individualized sources of information for the consumer products they buy. So if you want to sell in a particular metropolitan area, it's no longer enough to find the handful of mainstream media outlets (newspapers, television, radio) that sell in those markets and buy advertising space in them. Your audience is going to be spread out among a lot more sites, and you're going to have to do more work to figure out which sites are going to be good forums for promoting your products.

The upside is that the new technologies of the web make it possible to do much more targeted advertising, and to develop stronger brand loyalties. With old media technologies, there was inevitably a lot of wastage, as an ad that was targeted at one demographic also got seen by all the others, because everybody was reading the same newspaper. Now, if you can find a blog that's heavily used by a coveted demographic—housewives, college students, retirees, whatever—you can often do an ad campaign targeting that demographic at a much lower cost than newspaper or radio ads.

Ironically, this is a case where national brands can actually have an advantage over local ones. A local business used to be able to reach all of his potential customers by putting ads in the local paper, radio station, etc. Now, though, a lot of news sources have national or even global audiences. So national brands can get more value out of advertising on those sites, because no matter where in the country they might be reading from, they're going to be able to find A&W and Dr. Pepper in their local supermarket. Even better, thanks to geolocation technologies, you can usually arrange things so that when they choose to participate in a promotion, it can seamlessly direct the customer to the correct retail partner for that user's location.

The basic strategy I would recommend is to focus on building relationships with bloggers and others with a trusted relationship with a significant number of readers. Readers of blogs tend to feel a close affinity with the bloggers whose blogs they follow, and so they're likely to pay attention to what the blogs have to say. The flip-side of that is that they've got a reputation to uphold with their readers, so they're going to be very reluctant to participate in anything that's not seen as being on the up-and-up.

There are a few basic approaches you can take. The best case is where you're targeting a blog that's already about your category of products. So if you're trying to market on some kind of beverage-enthusiast's blog, you can approach the blogger and offer to provide goodies to give away to readers: coupons (these should be more generous than you'd get from the newspapers), free samples of new, experimental, or upcoming products, paid focus group opportunities for readers, etc. Bloggers will like this because everything is on the up-and-up: they're not being asked to endorse the product, nor are they being asked to hide the relationship. So there's no loss of trust with readers.

Of course, that approach only works with websites that are <i>about</i> food drinks, or related products. On a blog about cars or politics, the readership will get annoyed if they start getting offers for free samples of A&W. So for those sites, the key is to find something that will enhance, rather than diminish, readers' perception of the company. And this is a case where charity can work wonders. You're probably familiar with the <a href="http://www.joinred.com/">(red)</a> campaign. Companies like Target and Whole Foods also have bolstered their brand image by giving to local communities. A company like Cadbury Schweppes could accomplish the same kind of effect in a more targeted way (and potentially at lower cost) by making blogs and their readers partners in philanthropy.

There are lots of ways this could be pulled off, but here's one way: Cadbury Schweppes finds a blog whose readership is in a key demographic, and approaches the site's author with the following offer: If the blog's readers participate in C-S's program, C-S will donate $10,000 to the charity of their choice. "Participating" could involve a variety of things, from participating in online focus groups, to purchasing a minimum number of C-S products at participating retailers (and perhaps entering a code into C-S's website), to simply having the blog author try a new product and report on his or her impressions. Or, depending on the budget and objectives, it might even make sense to simply make the money available with no strings attached, simply for the enhanced goodwill this would create among the blog's readers. In any event, the blog author, assisted by his or her readers, would decide which charity (within reason--you probably wouldn't want anything overly political or otherwise controversial) gets the dough. Most likely, this will be a subject of extensive (and hopefully friendly) discussion among the blog's readers. It's probably best for C-S to stay out of this discussion directly, but the fact that readers are taking the time to debate how the money should be used will help strengthen the positive association with C-S's brand.

Another interesting approach would be a community-competition model. In this scenario, C-S might make a somewhat larger pot of money available&mdash;say, $25,000&mdash;to the blog or other website that prevails in some contest. The contest could be a range of different things, from collecting the most C-S bottlecaps (with numbers printed on the underside) to doing the most volunteer work. This would be particularly fun if you can get some rivalries involved. For example, if you could get a Cubs fan blog (with a North Side charity) competing with a White Sox fans' blog (with a South Side charity). Or you could have a liberal blog competing against a conservative blog. (In this case, you'd want to make sure the causes they were supporting weren't too political--the Sierra Club and the Boy Scouts, not the DNC and RNC).

Of course the idea of corporate philanthropy, and the associated positive publicity, isn't new. But I think this strategy has two key advantages. One is that it can be much more focused than traditional community philanthropy efforts. If a company gives a million dollars to a local hospital, you earn the gratitude of that hospital's staff, and you get the value of any resulting positive media coverage, but very few people have a direct emotional connection to that act of philanthropy. In contrast, if you can get the 10,000 readers of a particular blog debating where a $10,000 charitable contribution should go, the people participating in that debate are going to feel a strong personal connection to that philanthropic campaign.

The strongest brands are those that people perceive as being more than just brands. When people shop at Whole Foods, Chipotle, Target, and other stores with a history of being "good corporate citizens," they feel they're not just acquiring products but making a statement about their identity. That kind of brand identification can be extremely valuable, and the new technologies of the Web can give companies like C-S a great opportunity to shape public perception of their brand with key demographics at relatively low cost.


The challenge facing any promotion with retail partners is the need to generate local action from a coordinated national strategy.  To be successful, Cadbury should look for examples of local internet marketing successes from their retailers, strengthen those local attempts, and create an easily replicated dealer program managed by a social media expert. 

Phase I: Helping Grocers Go Local

The margins for grocery stores are very slim, and the expertise in marketing is often limited to print ads and store displays.  The key here is to look for ways to use the internet to publish what local stores are doing without asking them to duplicate effort.  This is essential, as local stores don't have a platform to publish their information.  They rely on mailers and the store displays, but that can easily be transitioned to a blog platform that can then be used for local advertising.  This is no easy task (the convincing), but if dealers can be taught to use social media to publish information they are already creating, you'll be able to help them do the heavy lifting in terms of driving traffic to the store. 

A.  Grocery newsletters:  One of the easiest transitions is taking e-mail recipe newsletters and turning them into blogs.  Most grocers have a list of some kind they use to push out recipes to the local community.  The content is already digital, and when published in a blog form, it's an easy step for grocers to take towards social media. 

Cadbury Blog Starter Kit:  Using Wordpress or Movable Type, Cadbury can create a series of blog starter kits that a grocery could use to put a blog up in under a day.  Tightly controlling the content and allowing White labeling for each store, the stores can begin publishing the newsletter on a blog, generating it as an RSS Feed, and improving search engine optimization without doing anything more than publishing old content. 

Building a starter kit for grocery stores to have a local blog is a good first step in getting them to leverage the internet, but it is just the first step.  Think of it as a Trojan horse effect. You're giving them the means to have a turnkey online publishing platform, but you're really giving them a platform that Cadbury can use to pitch itself as a partner to the grocers (which seems to be the point of the exercise).

B. Picking Your Partners Wisely: 

You can't launch a large-scale program across your entire retailer network and expect it to work.  To minimize risk and maximize the chances of success, look for partners who already have some kind of online presence.  Some local grocer - someone at Albertsons or Kroger or elsewhere has some kind of social media experience. To get started, pick 5 or 10 locations and practice ways to use the blog to affect the local market.  Picking 5-10 ringers will give you advantages in managing, setting expectations, and will allow you to build the nucleus of a social media team.

C.  Train the bloggers to be social media experts.

In addition to pushing local content, the 5-10 bloggers can be trained on Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Sphinn, Flektor, Flikr, and half-dozen other social media softwares.  Your goal is to have them become part of the social media community in their local area.  Using Twitter local, joining local blog communities, attending social media events, and most of all, sharing their experiences will give them the "street cred" to be accepted as social media types and not clumsy corporate bloggers trying to drive traffic. Putting local emphasis on each blogger creates the conditions for local evangelism.

Local evangelism means an established presence in the community from people who are not paid to blog.  If you want to drive traffic, join the local community and let them drive your traffic.

D.  Create an ad budget.  

Blog Advertising locally is very cheap.  For a few hundred dollars a quarter, you can have a big affect on local blogging, pushing people to the local grocery store site.  Think of it as co-op ad dollars.  

E. Train the Stores to replicate advertising information on the blog. 

The eventual goal of the blog/local online platform is to teach retailers that they can publish the information they are currently paying to publish in mailers and newspapers in online forums.  This doesn't require additional coupons, but instead is free publishing for coupons and specials the store is already running.  You're taking store advertising online, and making it free.

 And it's all prepped, taught, and managed by a small Cadbury team of 1 or 2 people.  You're helping bring grocery stores into the next century through the use of Cadbury dealer blogs.  The hard part is understanding the white labeled blog platforms.  The stores won't do it if this is branded Cadbury or your beverage division.  You're actually giving them something of immense value because of the good will it creates, and in doing so, you're showing that you are indeed committed to bringing in more traffic, and not just selling your products.

The small size of the program allows you to expand as success is reached.  If just 1 or 2 of the 10 blogs works well, you now have the blueprint, and what you'll find is this will absolutely work if you create the right training program and pick the right people to staff it.    

To Summarize: Create a blog training program that uses local content, creates an online platform for local retailers, and gives you a nucleus of social media trained partners to help you implement larger projects.

Timeframe:  3-6 months

Budget:  $100,000 (for infrastructure, social media consultants), and local advertising.

ROI:  Fully formed social media team, both for local dealers, and for Cadbury/7-Up/Dr. Pepper.  Measurable stats in traffic, SEO, and press mentions from project (you're assured of getting in ADAge for this one), as well as hundreds of high-quality links from business bloggers discussing the strategy.  Long-term benefit of platform that can be utilized for future promotions. 

Phase II:

A series of well-timed, well-planned social media campaigns powered by the original blogging team (and the dealers who come online in growth phases.

A. Connecting with Mom Social Networks:

They're all over the web, and the only way to get involved is to be part of them.  Companies and PR firms are throwing money and products at moms online in hopes of securing reviews.  It's a short-sighted and ultimately fruitless strategy, as moms who take money and product are no longer objective.  But if Cadbury could learn how to truly interact with moms by being part of the social media world, they'll be accepted as an insider.

Rather than free product, the local bloggers learn to listen and respond to complaints and suggestions.  And all Cadbury had to do was train them. 

1) Charity Giveaway - tie in existing local charity work with the blogs and get the social networks to pitch in. 

2) Use mom=powered content to help content for grocery newsletters.  Build up their blogs and networks by working with them to promote their content. 

3) POS items - advertise Mom Social Networks with which you have a relationship.  Integrate your online efforts with Store Displays. 

Budget:  Training and Social Media  $10-$20,000

ROI:  MomBlogs and Mom Social networks represent up to 38% of the mom population, and that number is growing each day.  Calculate the ROI of being the first recognized name in a market that actually cares what moms have to say about the products they buy and the stores in which they shop.  

 Phase III:  Mobile, Monitoring and Making Videos

A.  In separate promotions, start a user generated content contest for beverages. Don't just set it up.  Work with a slideshow and video provider like Flektor.com (a sister company to MySpace) to create a branded, specific UGC contest.  Think of the way that George Lucas provided Star Wars images and fans to make machinima and videos.  Diet Coke missed the opportunity, but you can  tightly manage the submissions.  You can even use a satire section set up to specifically make fun of your product.  That section can be used to shunt criticism by activists into a separate channel.

Budget:  $50,000-$$500,000+. Works best as a national program rolled out with the full force of the Marketing and Advertising departments.

ROI: Branding, Consumer Loyalty, and Free Advertising 

B) Text Clubs:  Specifically for 7-11, set up text clubs with number limits.  If someone enters a local store, POS materials provide a text message that they can send to sign up for a special coupon.  If you reach 500, or 1000 members, it triggers the coupon, and one person in the bunch gets entered in a grand prize. Smaller prizes can include cool cell phones, computers, software, and of course, drinks and candy.

Budget:  $50-$500,000 - depends on what  you do.  The text clubs are cheap.  The prizes and advertising are a different story.

ROI:  Easiest measure, as it's based on number of text club signups.  

C) Monitor forums, blogs, and websites using specific monitoring software (RelevantMind.com for forums, umbria or collectivex for blogs). 

Budget: $2-5,000 a month

ROI:  Can you afford not to?   

D) Build a social network for grocers and distributor on Ning

It's very easy to set up, and if you take the time to create a social network that allows grocers to share information and trade tips, you'll get the credit for building and maintaing a network that the grocers could easily start on their own. This idea can be fleshed out more, but take a look at www.recruitingblogs.com, which has over 5000 members, to see how a community can grow from the bottom up, with minor direction.  

Budgetary:  $10-$20,000

ROI:  Internal messaging to dealers.  Invaluable dealer surveys and demographics 

 There are a lot of ways to utilize social media to drive in traffic, but it all begins with local platforms that Cadbury can help build by providing the training and infrastructure.  The technology is cheap and reliable. It's all about selecting the right consultants, starting with the right internal people, and integrating the program into existing dealer and Cadbury advertising. 

-Jim Durbin






Matt Jansen
Mon Apr 21 6:59am
Phase I: Helping Grocers Go Local -
Your point about training bloggers on social media softwares to build "street cred" is a critical one, because otherwise this could easily nosedive into overt salesmanship and a sizeable segment of Internet users are hypersensitive to advertising. They want to seek out content or discover it, rather than be captive to a broadcast (likely irrelevant) message.

A. Connecting with Mom Social Networks -
Moms are certainly a strong segment online, but I think it's equally important to appeal to their kids, especially because it may be possible to influence lifelong buying patterns. That in mind, posting content that appeals to kids like printable coloring books, kid-friendly online games or social widgets on Mom networks may be a good way to build that relationship.


Hats off to you Jim for a well-organized and actionable proposal, it's obvious you have experience in this space.

Thank you Matt,

Yes, it's very important that the training be effective.  It's not as easy as simply teaching them blogging software - it's learning the etiquette, how to build traffic, and how to write with a voice.

Company blogs can't be about the companies - they need to be about the industries or about the audience.  That's often the hardest lesson to learn.  

Excellent points on the kid-friendly information.  That would have been a smart addition to builkd out the second phase on Mom Social Network. 

Joseph Hunkins
Tue Apr 22 12:01am
Jim I think this is an excellent insight. I agree that blogging should be a key focus for their strategy although I'd recommend they create an internal blogging team rather than try to leverage existing writers. Replicating advertising information on the blog is a very good suggestion, and I think much of the content for an excellent family of Schwepps blogs already exists in the form of company flyers, corporate websites, annual reports, and many years of vintage advertising that could be uploaded and cross promoted.
James Durbin
Tue Apr 22 8:29am

An internal team of bloggers would be a good idea for Cadbury, but this project would require local bloggers from the retailers.

I would say the chances of a national team of bloggers bringing in traffic to local stores across the country would be small.

If Cadbury wants an internal blogging team for other products, and for their regular marketing - I'd be happy to train them and create an alternate program.

The Internet has revolutionized consumer marketing. By taking advantage of contextual ad-targeting technology, brands are able to reach their target audience with incredible precision. Ten years ago young people 18-24 were a difficult consumer group to reach. Today, thanks to the ubiquity of online social networking, not only are these coveted consumers easily reachable, they have taken the guesswork out of media planning by listing their interests on public profile pages!

Facebook is a prime example of how powerful contextual advertising can be. To illustrate this point I will use a true story from my own experience: The Life Aquatic is listed as one of my favorite films on my profile. While browsing Facebook a few weeks ago, my focus was drawn to an ad for a Life Aquatic t-shirt. At first I thought it was an interesting coincidence, but then I realized that this ad was being targeted at me based on my interests. I bought the shirt. Not only is the advertiser happy because their targeting tactics were effective, I am also happy as a consumer. Consumers generally accept the ad-supported-content model because they get free access to social networking sites, software applications, and other valuable technology in exchange for viewing ads. Furthermore, ads are not perceived as obtrusive when the content of the ad is relevant to consumers' interests. In some cases like my new t-shirt, well-targeted ads can actually be convenient for consumers.

Social networking allows its members to identify niche interest groups that would probably never take shape offline. One of my Facebook friends has professed herself a fan of Dr. Pepper. Her friends have noted this and responded by sending virtual gifts in the form of (an image of) a can of Dr. Pepper. Two of these gifts are now displayed on her public profile, see for yourself. This presents a unique opportunity for Cadbury Schweppes to add real value to these novelty ‘gifts’ by making them redeemable for an actual beverage through its retail partners.

The logistics of bringing the online virtual gift into a retail store for redemption can be handled in two easy ways: mobile coupons and print-at-home coupons. Much like a bottle-cap contest where a lucky consumer finds a code under his bottle cap that is redeemable for a free beverage, a similar code can be sent to the consumer’s mobile phone via SMS push, directly from Facebook (or any website) and presented to the retail clerk. As an alternative, consumers can print their coded coupon at home.

So for the investment cost of a can of soda and a simple web-development project, Cadbury Schweppes can dramatically increase exposure of its brands through innovative use of online social networking. In addition, consumers will be happy to pay a visit to their local 7-Eleven to claim their free soda and potentially purchase additional products. This is a win-win-win situation for Cadbury Schweppes, its retail partners, and its consumers. Furthermore, this campaign is likely to spread virally across peer-to-peer networks, creating enough buzz to garner attention from the mass media.

Investments required:

  • Free beverage products
  • Web development project
  • Facebook partnership

Returns expected:

  • Positive brand exposure, compounded by peer-to-peer viral sharing
  • Increased traffic to retail partners
  • Mass-media buzz

The only way to answer this Challenge Case [at least for me] is to get very personal in my answer, which requires me to provide some level of demographic/psychographic information within my reply. So "who" am I?

  • I am a father of three children - 8, 11, 12 - two boys, one girl - a husband, married 13 years
  • I mostly work from a home office and travel to other cities for my "job", and would be considered a knowledge worker
  • I am an "experience" buyer and motivated primarily by the experience derived from my purchases, I am not specifically driven to purchase based upon "label" or "price" although I am like most people and am influenced by those factors
  • My family is somewhat active [sports and outdoors], but are also very technology driven and in some cases are early adopters of technology - we own multiple gaming systems, have multiple computers in the home, have high-speed internet access, all within the family have mobile phones, etc.
  • I would say that I am of above intelligence, graduated from college, have taken advanced courses, am creative, enjoy artistic endeavors, etc.

That's who I am.

What's interesting about the request, is that the above list of Retail establishments are varied - there are grocery/supercenter stores, convenience stores, "fast food" restaurants, drug stores - each with a different motivation for going there to "shop". Another interesting point, is the request about focusing on bring traffic into the retail location, not necessarily about buying Cadbury Schwepps products. So, here are two scenarios which may fit for your request and would fit within my idea of an experience.

Scenario One - Surprise Marketing

It's been done before, but you could do a concert series - location is undisclosed, until 24-hours prior to the play date. The location(s) are randomly chosen - the tour buses pull up and there is a concert in the parking lot of the retail location. For obvious reasons, this only works for those retail locations with larger than average parking facilities (may not work at a 7-Eleven). Secrecy would be paramount - only a few people at the chosen location would know prior to the concert. This would be a massive effort, requiring portable stage and sound facilities and logistics would be interesting - but the tie-ins would be interesting.

Advertising campaigns around the concert series - with the tag line of "where will we play next". T-shirts with "I was surprised by Cadbury Schwepps", I'm sure there would be lots of YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and blogging activity going one. And you could even have a tie-in with MTV, VH1, Rhapsody, iTunes, etc. Lots of cross promotion opportunity.

One key would be doing a couple things - one would be finding the right act - a group/band that is looking for exposure (not too big) and is a rising star.

Estimate Cost:

I don't really know, I'm not a concert promoter. And these would be free concerts - so no underlying cost recovery. But let's say, just because, the total cost per concert is in the $100,000 - you could do a 50 city tour for $5M - initial advertising could be another $5M or $10M - total cost between $10M and $20M. Some of cost of the concert series could be underwritten by sponsors. But the exposure, both free and paid, would be huge.

Scenario 2: Where is the world...

I really like internet tools and tie-ins. How about doing something where you have customers snap a picture of themselves in front of the Cadbury Schwepps display, then send it to your site. All pictures would be viewable on your site (actually if you could create a Flickr account (cross promo with Yahoo!) or a Myspace page (I guess you could do video also). These customers will email their pictures with "where" [i.e. retail location, city, etc.] they took the picture. One picture would be randomly selected each day for some "prize". There could be various levels of prizes, but you could not submit the same picture twice and no more than once per day. Run it for several weeks - with bigger prizes per week and biggest prizes at the end of the contest.

Once again, lots of online and offline tie-in opportunities. Partner with a mobile phone company [lots of mobile phones with cameras and picture messaging], online partners [Yahoo!, MSN, Myspace, etc.], allow people to "resend" their picture from the site like a greeting card to their friends and family.

Estimate Cost:

Between $5M to $25M tops - and cost could be offset by sponsors/co-marketing partners. Prizes would be heaviest cost component (with partners) other than that, support from advertising and in-store displays. But what you really want to do is create some level of "buzz" that spurs the campaign on.


Bonus Scenario:

What if you eliminated the criteria about traffic to your retail partners - do something like the following....run some sort of contest around advertising campaign(s). Allow people to submit original art for packaging; allow people to submit a television commercial or radio commercial; allow people to submit jingle ideas. All around your various brands - the campaign could be something like "Re-brand Us". If they submit, you "own" the content. All content can be held online -- once again, I would attempt to leverage an existing online brand [Yahoo!, MSN, Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, etc.] rather than build your own site [which would be temperary at best]. You pick the best - and make it an event of some sort - like the Academy Awards - webcast it live, have live music and celebrities and pick winners in various categories. Of course all those chosen would attend at no cost and the winner(s) would be given something of extremely high value (money of course - top agency money; creative "rights" of some level, etc.).

Cost/budget could be anything.



This is inherently a question about how to create social involvement with what is a low social engagment category. This requires changing the playing field from the product as the social object to a more socially engaging object.

I suggest thinking of ways to make a game (a much more inherently engaging social object) that involves single or multiple groups of friends, the brands and the stores in a way that uses online participation to drive traffic to the stores. An example of this would be a social treasure hunt game, where a group of friends participates in a treasure hunt.

To make the social treasure hunt work, the group needs a map, clues that help unveil the map and a reward. The map could be a user generated recipe from the treasure hunt's organizers for a drink mix involving one of the Cadbury Schweppes brands and other ingredients. The group then hunts for clues in stores. The clues to the next parts of the map could be revealed via sms messages when someone finds the next ingredient. The online component could keep track of where people are in completing the treasure hunt. The final reward could be tied to how much the group spent at the stores. This could also be turned into a charity competition by having all the groups' proceeds go to one charity and the scoring is how much each group generated. Other instore activities could be instore voting for favorite recipes via instore coupon submissions that act as ballots.

This concept could be generalized over time into different types of games that involved Cadbury Scheppes brands and partners. This kind of game could be played out on a social network like Facebook.

As far as budgetary considerations are concerned, it really depends upon how social, compelling and viral the game can be made. A viral and fun game, will have much lower promition costs. And to the extent that the game can be made sufficiently social that consumers find it fun to play with friends, then the reward component can be reduced to a great degree as well. The best case for this type of application is that the costs are essentially limited to the technical development and a small kick start launch to seed a viral rollout.

Top retail channels always have trouble attracting new customers. But here's strategies that really will get people into the stores.

"The Scavenger Hunt"
Challenge consumers to visit two or more local stores to collect clues (for example, the store's promotional code word for that day). Promise that clues can be redeemed on-the-spot for an attractive door prize — as well as a chance to win a final grand prize.  Costs can be kept relatively small, and it's guaranteed to bring more visits to the outlets!

"Video Wars"
Stage a viral video contest where votes are collected at stores. Since all "local" and "regional winners" would earn the right to compete in the next level, participants would be urging their friends to visit the stores to vote for their videos!

The videos could also be displayed on a web site (along with comments from viewers). Strange videos could become big hits on the internet — especially if the video's makers have a stake in their own online publicity! (And participants could also sign up to have new comments delivered as a text message — along with tallies of the votes.)

The budget is limited to creating a framework for the contest and administering it carefully — with thousands of innovative acts of creativity being supplied by the public. And the return on investment could be tremendous, since it creates a genuine rationale for foot traffic to the stores.

"Being Green"
Environmental consumerism is a growing "megatrend" — and even Walmart is tapping it with new cellphone recycling programs. Consider providing a real environmental service that taps consumers' real sense of urgency. Besides cellphone and battery recycling programs, why not distribute low-energy light bulbs in stores for free or at a reduced price. (Consumers could use Cadbury Schweppes' web site to locate the stores closest to them).

With some careful administration, some of the costs of this program can even be offset (through sponsorships, government reimbursement, etc.)  And it would create a positive and memorable experience around the local store which would last beyond the campaign.

"Come and Get It"
In tough economic times, consumers are most attracted to giveaways. Offer something useful enough that consumers would make a special trip for it — though nothing too expensive. A surprising campaign could generate lots of word-of-mouth and return business — especially if it were easy to remember.  (Maybe "all of July" or "every weekend", if not "all summer.") Some possibilities for the summer?

  • Beverages
  • Barbecue charcoal
  • Suntan lotion
  • Candy
"Come 2 GET It"
It's been said that consumers under 35 respond better to text messages than conventional communications. Offer text messages when there's a new "window" for claiming free items at the local outlets. Real excitement could be generated, and the costs are relatively low. Best of all, the messages would be forwarded to other contacts in cellphone address books — and the campaign could even be designed to encourage this. ("Bring along a friend, get an extra item.")

"Big Hits"
Media outlets would be thrilled to receive promotion in top retail chains — and in exchange for this, it should be possible to procure a very enticing property for a big promotion. Imagine offering in-store visitors a free mp3 or CD single with their purchases — or even a CD with digital video. Some possibilities?

  • A trailer for a hot summer blockbuster
  • A new re-mix of a popular song
  • Sneak previews of a hot TV show. (Heroes? Lost?)
  • A promotional single from a movie soundtrack.
  • Video of American Idol performances
The cost of materials are surprisingly cheap, especially when mass-produced — and the media outlets might even pick up some of the cost.

"Star Power
Publicize the fact that a celebrity (or group of celebrities) will be paying surprise visits to stores across the country. (With life-sized cut-outs to serve as promotional reminders and giveaways). Regardless of the logistics, it's a fun idea to consider. Details would be broad — the visits will occur sometime during this week or weekend, at one of the stores in a specified region. But this would definitely create a buzz about the in-store visits — both before and after — and would give people an extra reason to visit the stores. Store-visiting duties could be distributed among the cast members of various TV shows, sports teams, etc.

With some creativity, there's lots of ways to drive more visits to retail outlets, and it creates a double benefit. In-store promotions will get consumers to locate new retail outlets that they may not be aware of — and will also help get them in the habit of actually visiting the store in the future!

The situation at hand is an age-old marketing problem, not unique to Cadbury Schweppes. The goal is to entice consumers to visit retailers. Historical approaches have included specials, coupons, samples, and swag. 

An online-specific approach can include the classic solutions above, plus some "Web 2.0" approaches, such as user generated content, online contests, and virtual worlds. 

The single most effective way to bring people into stores will be to educate consumers on new uses for familiar products.

An online marketing platform allows micro-segmentation for targeting specific niches, both geographically and by interest. Demonstrate solutions that will resonate with the micro-segments. Show how products carried by the retailers can meet these needs. Generate grass-roots interest in a problem, educate on the solution, and show how the solution requires every-day products found at retailers.


Some examples of event-based marketing:

Problem: parent needs to help child come up with science fair idea

Solution: Cadbury Schweppes offers a number of simple but interesting ideas

Action: Each idea requires a number of products to be purchased


Problem: Family taking long road trip

Solution: Cadbury Schweppes suggests food and entertainment to bring along

Action: Purchase of suggested items


Problem: Local charities seeking to organize food drive

Solution: Cadbury Schweppes offers tools and technology platform

Action:  Donors purchase from retailers

Problem: Party planning

Solution: Cadbury Schweppes website offers pre-made shopping lists based on a few simple questions 

Action: Easier to manage pre-party shopping. Fewer forgotten items means more revenue for retailers



Marketing programs of this nature are most successfull when they have laser-like focus on specific market segments. Find a market segment, identify a very unique problem, then show how it can be solved with material available at a nearby retailer. The campaign will be ineffective if the problem is too general, or if everyone already knows the solution. Laser-like focus will help avoid this common pitfall.






Arnie Mckinnis
Thu Apr 24 6:07pm
This is both simple and elegant in approach. I really like it.

As a major brand holder in beverage market Cadbury Schweppes is very well positioned to take advantage of many new opportunities in the social media space, arguably the most powerful way to leverage inexpensive online techniques to make sales, increase brand and product awareness, and foster customer loyalty.

Social networks are becoming a key form of human interaction and are already a powerful force in business to consumer interaction, so this is an important arena for any major business effort.

At a minimum Cadbury Schweppes should create robust individual product blogs and maintain an active presence on all major social networking sites, especially Myspace and Facebook.  

Social Networking to Real Networking:  Yelp.com, a travel and restaurant review social network, has had great success in the Bay Area and some other large cities using the online environment to drive interest and participateion in real offline parties and events.   I think this model might be adapted by Cadbury such that social networking and advertising campaigns would drive people to real retail venues, for example Safeway Stores in a major city, for beverage and snack tastings sponsored by Cadbury.   People would be encouraged to meet up with friends they met online, with Cadbury Schweppes as the host.   The parties would also serve as a PR and viral marketing venue back to the online social network and for the stores themselves as regular customers would be able to participate and be encouraged to check back in online.   These "Cadbury Bars" could feature free beverage and food tastings and local music. 

Develop a strong brand presence with individual product blogs.
Consider deployment of a *social network team* who will blog and engage with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace as individual drink and retail store evangelists.  Start with a small, focused group - ideally of current employees familiar with the products. This team will also encourage (gently) existing consumers to be part of the social networking efforts. The "currency" for incentifying the social campaigns should be generous product coupons and special offers, and perhaps even family-friendly picnic get togethers for loyal customers who have actively engaged with the company online.

Ready made Social Network?  With 59,000 employees Cadbury Schweppes may already have the makings of a substantial and instant social network.  Minor employee incentives - perhaps coupons to give away in online social enounters - would generate significant buzz at virtually no cost, enhance social networking opportunities for customers, and probably help build employee brand loyalty as well.

Labelling and product as advertising currency.  Labelling and package printing should feature social networking opportunities.   Rather than simply list websites and customer service, invite the customer to "Join Us" at the Cadbury Retail Store events or simply offer URLs for the social networking venues. 

Blogs for each product are an almost essential component of a quality social media strategy.   These will feature stories about history, production notes, ingredients, company philosophy, and more.   To reduce the total costs of content production cross posting on topics across multiple blogs should be OK in this case.   e.g.  company history, notes from the president, and many more items can appear at multiple blogs.    However fresh content is important to maintain the viability of the blogs in search rankings where blogs often outpace websites in terms of ranking and search presence.   The social media team should be selected more on their ability to write well and quickly than on any other criteria.

Blogs make your case *directly* to the customer.  Targeted blogging brings product information, personalizes your product, and allows targeted search optimizing for other parts of your website.   Blogs for *every major product you have* are a great investment at a cost of about  0.1 marketing postition FTE per blog and can serve as a superior customer aquisition, retention, and troubleshooting tool.

Co-branding efforts with supermarkets.   Banners and labels can feature retail outlets in association with the drinks brands.   Blogs can feature links and ads for the supermarkets.   "Get Your Schwepps On"  at these great stores and provide links to supermarket websites and Schweppes in store event information.

Widgets and Gadgets: Product features, giveaways, and the Social Supermarket events mentioned above can all be offered to Supermarkets as Facebook and Myspace widgets and Google Gadgets.  The cost of production of these media elements is minimal - generally well under $1000 per widget, yet a few dozen will create the potential for literally millions of extra page views, especially if the widget campaign is blended with supporting media such as the successful Gorilla TV spots. 

Google gadgets. Google gadget team leader Adam Sah is always looking for neat new uses of the technology.  I think he'd be very interested in the notion of using Google Gadgets to create a social networking venue that would add real live meetings at local retail outlets. Yahoo and Microsoft also have gadget/widget development platforms, but Google is the key target here for viral marketing because they have the largest user base, superb support for the platform

Social Media Marketing Team:  A clever and enthusiastic (but also professional and disciplined) company intern is much more likely to put a good face on the company in the social networking space than an advertising representative.    Simply make sure your "Social Media Public Relations Posse" understands the company's core sensibilities with respect to customer interaction.  Cut this team loose at Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Stumbleupon, Flickr, Google Groups, Yahoo Groups.  

It is important to treat social network participants with care and respect, but honest indications of your intention to participate on behalf of yourself and your product should  be acceptable to social networkers.  As major brands you'll stand out even more with a *real person* who is authorized to solve customer problems, disperse coupons, and participate as a person with real people.   This approach is far more scalable than it would appear at first glance, and likely to cost less than pure advertising in terms of customer aquisitions and branding effects.

Second life Promotion: I think this should be somewhat low on the list of social networking for your product due to labor intensity and a higher cost than blogging  However if you choose to go this route here is some advice from an earlier insight I wrote for an automobile company:

1) Build an Island to promote your company.

2) Develop relationships within the game utilizing your own employee base and a handful of interns that can be assigned to the project. Modest stipends should be provided in employee time and purchases of linden dollars (the SL currency, available for real dollars) to allow these players to help you promote the project.

* Building the Island. In Second Life, the Island is a location within which a company can define a brand and a Second Life presence. The cost is about $1700 plus a $295 monthly land maintenance fee. Initially only one Island will be needed to effectively brand your product. More about Second Life Islands and brand marketing is here at Second Life.

There may be advantages to having an internal team develop your SL presence, especially if you have people who already are part of the game. However even if this is the case you'll probably want to invest in some consultants to help guide the process in the early stages. Fees will vary enormously and my personal opinion is that you should stay away from agencies and work with individuals who can better interface with your existing marketing teams. Here is a list of SL consultants.

Second Life is very time intensive, so consider using staff capable of taking on the job themselves (this is the most desirable approach if they can integrate with existing marketing efforts. Amazon.com's very impressive Second Life efforts have been largely from the work of a single employee - feel free to contact me for his contact info as well as the guy who helped establish the Sun Microsystems Island - though that was done with consultants rather than in-house).

Quick Social Media Hits - low cost with potentially high returns in terms of long term impacts:

Twitter: Simply sign up and check in with a few personal notes and link to interesting information about your company. Post twice per day with links to website information pages. Time needed: 10 minutes per day. Ideally use an intern or team member to become "the face" of the company and interact with prospective users and promoters.

Facebook: Set up a corporate page, interact as appropriate with those groups that might be interested in your product, encourage marketing team members to open a Facebook profile.

Myspace: Depending on your product Myspace may have limited value, but I have heard of some great success stories with highly targeted advertising at Myspace for high end services. Myspace, with 200,000,000 members, is larger than Facebook and clever viral marketing can have extraordinary results here.

Stumbleupon.com: This "website ranking and finding" social environment has exploded in popularity. Investing a few hours would begin the process of planting a company "flag" in this environment.

Flickr: Flickr remains a powerful social network and might not be easy to "enter" because you don't want to appear to be manipulating these social spaces too commercially, but note that Google and other search engines value the size of the online footprint of a company. Even company picnic pictures, when properly tagged pointing to the company website, can boost organic search listings. I've been running some interesting Google experiments in this area and have heard from the search engines at conferences noting that image search has a lot of potential for ranking benefits.

Google Orkut: Not popular in USA but big overseas, especially Brazil. If this is a target market set up a profile.

MyBlogLog. Yahoo's recent social networking acquisition is heavily used by many technology and business bloggers and has disproportionate influence. For non-tech companies this is worth the time to improve "exposure" at blogs and websites which remain heavily tech-centric. Remember, your internet footprint and ranking will include sites, blogs, and references that are not otherwise relevant to your niche.

Give your team some time and flexibility to manage these social profiles to help spread the word.

Mobile Web: Twitter allows you to "broadcast" to mobile twitter users via simple internet interface accessed from PC.   Also offer answers to product questions. As with most of your social efforts avoid "shameless" marketeering in favor of general branding, product awareness, and loyalty.

Establish a Twitter account for a marketing employee or intern who shows interest in writing, and has basic familiarity with social media. Name it after the company mascot or logo if possible.

Transparency and honesty are critical when commercializing social media. If you have not done it already consider a marketing position for a new hire familiar with social media that would include all social media opportunities like Myspace, Netscape, Digg, Reddit, Flickr. These represent a goldmine of cheap marketing opportunities.

You'll only need to allocate about 5 minutes per day to update the twitter twice per day.

Partner with mobile networks to offer "instant phone coupons" for your products. A buyer in the store isle could order up a coupon on her cell phone via an automated 800 number to be applied via a number code at cash register. All you require for this is email, which is then stored for later communication. Dovetail this with your online website such that offers are emailed regularly to customers via an opt-in email newsletter, which also will contain recipes and cooking tips.

Email remains a powerful tool when shoppers have opted in. Initially provide generous coupons for sign up, then modest coupons with encouragement to join the social networking efforts you have established, participate at the blogs, and more.

Opt in text messaging for coupons and specials is also something to consider. 

Online Coupons, online sweepstakes and promos.  The initial question seemed to suggest this option has been overused, but note that last year America Online conducted a large study of online click behavior (in USA) that found the most ad-responsive online consumers were middle aged women who like sweepstakes. This may be a quality demographic for you and indicates social network advertising - such as clickable text and image ads at MySpace and Facebook - may have a favorable response rate if you promote sweepstakes and product coupons.