Three points to keep in mind:
  • All promotions are marketing communications
  • Budgets are never unlimited
  • Your target market has many other things grabbing and keeping their attention, your big or little brand message being just one of thousands, you hope remembered, but more likely forgotten.
If you don’t believe that, check out many successful promotions, ie successful in terms of moving large amounts of product or services through to the actual consumer and actually increasing consumption. If you can get hold of the actual sales numbers, you will probably find that the actual number of people who participated in the promos were much smaller than can fully account for all the incremental sales volume achieved.  

Why? Because a lot of target consumers who notice the promos bought the products without taking advantage of the promos.  

Why? Because the promo message strongly reinforced what the brand was about. Its brand promise. Its point of difference, or whatever you prefer to call it. And those people had the need for a solution of that sort.

They got it! So they bought it!

Those are promotions working powerfully as marketing communications. I cover several examples of this in a seminar I do on this topic. And the examples cross into different categories.

At those seminars we also discuss the participants’ own promotions. One of those recently was a promotion by a brand that is a combination of some important vitamins, which is supposed to help you stay energized long after lesser mortals call it a day. The promo basically offered tickets to an all night concert on purchases of so many pesos of the brand.

Discussing the promo, it was apparent that it was essentially supportive of the brand’s message of staying energized. Which helped explain its success.

But it was also apparent that the messaging and the mechanics did not hammer that point home as powerfully as they could have. And since the brand’s promise was intriguing to a lot of people, hammering that message home just might have increased the success of the promo.

The key activity within the concert that supported the idea of being energetic for very long was simply being able to stay up all night, probably jumping up and down to loud music. But what if the brand organized a specific activity at 4 am that allowed participants to demonstrate, possibly on stage or projected on big screens, that they were still full of energy. And which rewarded the most crazily energetic with something, not necessarily monetary but at the very least some recognition. Everybody likes recognition even if they are too shy to admit it. So no danger of breaking anyone’s promo budget with big awards.

And what if the brand actually highlighted that 4 am activity in its merchandising materials? And built it into the promo name?
Would that have helped get the brand’s messaging across much more powerfully than just talking about an all night concert? Of course it would! That would help hammer home the brand message even to the casual passerby whether at retail or out somewhere, instead of leaving the target market and the passerby to make all the right conclusions. If you leave it up to the target market do that, you are definitely wasting an opportunity and your money. In this age of hypercompetition, leaving it up to someone else is not a good idea.
In fact, if the brand could come up with an unusually different activity for 4 am it could actually get to eventually own the all night concert concept and keep doing that all over the country. Just like some big brands have come to own certain promotions that they run year after year.

Lack of distinctiveness in promo concept is also found in many of those marathons and other foot races that happen on weekends. Too many sound alike so the sponsors are likely just wasting money.  More sponsors should be devising something specific to their brand so they can really hammer home their brand message.

Any comments? Glad to hear them! Send them to me at
Benedicto “Poch” Cid is the Chief Brand Adviser of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (, the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. For inquiries, please email info@mansmith.netcall (+63-2) 584-5858 /412-0034 or text (63) 918-81-168-88. Please also send your marketing, sales and strategy questions to