When Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide creates a shopper marketing campaign linking a consumer brand and a major retailer, its focus is on ROI. Only ROI, in Blue Chip’s lexicon, stands for Relevance, Originality and Impact.
Not that the company isn’t interested in cost-effective results. But to get there, it must create campaigns that are relevant to the right consumers, original so that they grab shopper attention, and have an impact that can be sustained. “We have the highest efficacy,” says Stanton Kawer, Blue Chip’s CEO. “We develop campaigns that are the perfect opportunity for the retailer and the manufacturer to reach their goals and develop longer, more sustained relationships with shoppers and consumers.”
The Northbrook, Ill., company works with some of the world’s best-known brands, including Procter & Gamble, Home Depot and Gorton’s. Last year, Blue Chip campaigns ran in about 55,000 stores nationwide, encompassing a range of grocery, drug store, mass merchant and discounter chains.
Kawer sees Blue Chip’s role as a way to unite brands and retailers, helping them target shoppers more effectively by clearly identifying shopper needs. “When we can help foster a collaborative relationship between the brand and retailer, both win, and ultimately the shopper wins because a better campaign creates a better shopping experience in which shoppers find products when they want them,” Kawer says.
This past winter, Blue Chip worked with Kaz, which makes the Vicks Behind Ear Thermometer, to reach mothers of young children. The mobile campaign promoted the thermometer on various apps, but the ad was geofenced so it only was served up in areas where there appeared to be high flu levels. Plus, the ads were only delivered to mothers that were within two miles of retailers that carry the thermometer. The ad message was simple: “Flu levels in your area are high.” Tapping on it led to a video of the product and a list of nearby retailers carrying the thermometer, including travel directions.
The key to the campaign’s success was its creative targeting, notes Kawer. Despite the CDC reporting that 2011-12 was a record low flu season, product sales were beyond the client’s expectations.
Blue Chip conducts its analysis on several different levels. Point-of-sale information, shopping trends, demographic and lifestyle data, shopper interviews and the like form the foundation of its understanding of shopper motivations. But it frequently goes an extra step, such as speaking with sales teams that often have first-hand knowledge of how shoppers are responding to campaigns. Blue Chip also speaks with retailers’ marketers, category managers and buyers. “We have a robust database that helps us understand the shopper ecosystem,” Kawer says.
The goal is to find the kinds of partnerships that resonate with shoppers. Most recently, Blue Chip linked candy company Brach’s to The Next Big Thing, a reality show on Oxygen that helps guide aspiring
performers to their big break. The campaign is part of Brach’s effort to reach younger shoppers and update the brand. The marketing partnership between Brach’s and Oxygen includes on-air, online and video-on-demand sponsorships. The cross-platform promotion will extend to more than 8,000 retail stores nationwide—with a big focus on Walmart—where Brach’s and Oxygen co-branding will be visible on end cap displays. Co-branded coupons—available online—further drive shoppers into the Walmart aisles.
This kind of partnership points to the clarity Blue Chip delivers to its retail clients. It looks at shopper needs to find synergy between brands and shopper interests—Walmart shoppers, notes Kawer, are big reality show fans. The result? A mix of analytics, targeting and creative that influences the path to purchase.