From beer to bread and cereal, product sampling is often the way that FMCG’s get their products into consumers’ hands. But with new brands and products hitting supermarket shelves al thetie, the constant introduction of new products and brands, consumers are a lot more discerning and you have to work lot harder to win them over.

In order to get them to understand the benefits of your brand, your activity needs to run a lot deeper than just handing out samples – it needs to be connected with a tangible brand experience.

Read on and we will tell you the what, why and how.

It’s all about the experience

We live in an age where we are the ultimate curators of our worlds. We ‘like’ and ‘follow’ whomever we please, and because life is hectic, we’re more likely to avoid interactions that we deem ‘unnecessary’. So brands need to be smarter with their product sampling.

Even if you manage to get your product into the hands of 100,000 people, there’s no guarantee that they’ll convert into paying customers. Sampling isn’t just a numbers game. It plays a role, but today, it is more about enriching the consumer interaction to deliver value. It’s about engaging, entertaining and informing your audience and offering them something they want and need.

Reinforcing your brand values

Your product sampling activity should say something about your brand values. By doing something humorous, challenging, educational or mysterious with it, you can engage the consumer with your brand’s personality.

A playful example of this was from Dutch brewer Amstel, who combined product sampling with a memorable brand experience in an attempt to leave a sweet taste in consumer’s mouths.

Amstel Bulgaria introduced Amstel Pause, an interactive vending machine that dispensed cold beers to passers-by, in return for them doing absolutely nothing. Yep – nothing.

To ‘win’ their beer, participants had to approach the vending machine and stand still for 3-minutes, (no phone calls, texting, chatting or moving were allowed) while a timer counted down to zero.

The activation pivoted on the idea that we all need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the modern world every now and then.

An average of 84 people took part each day and a total of 1,344 beers were dispensed, resulting in 4,032 minutes (more than 67 hours) of rest.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on