Why do brands turn to the high street to distribute product samples?

By July 2, 2015General

When it comes to distributing product samples, there’s no need to get fancy – there’s nothing wrong with the high street. The great British high street has long been a staple arena for experiential marketing. Even today, with the convenience of online shopping, we still love our bricks and mortar shops.

A recent study by leading cloud company Rackspace found that 45% of UK consumers prefer to shop on the high street rather than online, due to online shopping being ‘impersonal’ and ‘frustrating’.

Cultivating a personalised experience

There’s one sure-fire way to get customers interested in your product – and that’s with experiential marketing; the premise of which is to create a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in a fun and memorable experience. And what better way to do this than with a creative product sampling campaign?

Product sampling uses sensory techniques to connect with people on an emotional level. It offers retailers on the high street a chance to shine – to become destinations that offer a memorable social experience which is fun and entertaining. And when combined with a strong promotional team, it’s an effective way to bring your brand personality to life.

Why do brands use product sampling on the high street?

Every major city has an array of high footfall retail areas which provide ideal opportunities for mass market consumer sampling campaigns. There are a myriad of experiential event spaces to choose from in terms of demographic outreach and budget. Depending on what suits your brand best, you can hand out promotional product samples on the busy pedestrianised streets, or inside on the concourses of shopping centres.

With so many brands using traditional sampling mechanics, it is those that give consumers a positive, feel-good experience that manage to succeed in this field.

Here’s an example from American baked goods brand Cinnabon, who recently ran a creative product sampling campaign in Russia.

Consumers in Russia are increasingly concerned about their health and the number of calories they consume, particularly in sweets and snacks. So Cinnabon created a sampling campaign that challenged consumers to burn calories before they tried the product.

Cinnabon strategically placed their samples at the top of an escalator in one of Moscow’s main shopping centres. To get a free bun, passers-by had to climb up the escalator that was going in the other direction, to burn-off the amount of calories contained in a Cinnabon Roll.

Cinnabon’s ‘new product’ called ‘Zero Calorie’ Cinnabon Roll didn’t vary a single ingredient from its original formula, but by tackling consumers’ concerns, they managed to get people to try their delicious rolls. And their brand message was loud and clear: Exercise and enjoy Cinnabon’s rolls without remorse.

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 info@hotcow.co.uk.