Category Snapshot: BWS Q4 2017


Category Snapshot:

BWS Q4 2017

 ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and with party season in full swing, brands tend to go big at Christmas both with media and promotions. However, with more and more consumers drinking less alcohol [The Grocer, Alcohol report 2017], how did brands combat this and make sure that shoppers are still getting merry over the festive period?

in the Christmas spirit

The BWS category was one of the categories with the strongest growth this Christmas, growing 5.7% vs last year [Nielsen]. This was considerably driven by premium spirits sales, with shoppers trading up to brands or products they might not have tried at any other times of the year. Using recipe inspiration is a great way to do this, particularly when making cocktails at home has increased by 23% this year. Brands should make sure that when suggesting recipe content, all items are easy to pick up in-store, for example by merchandising them all together, ensuring customers don’t switch to a cheaper alternative at the last minute. Online is great for this as you can purchase all items with one click on a banner.

fanatic about flavours

Branding is especially important within this category, as it’s a huge deciding factor for shoppers in this category. To stand out from competitors, some brands used media to showcase the flavour of the drink within for example, showing the spices and seeds that were used to distil the liquid. Others looked to suggest the perfect meal pairing based on the taste profile of the drink. This is a great example of driving awareness as well as educating shoppers on what the beverage is complementary to. Soft drink brands such as Fever Tree have previously done this very well, leveraging flavour to make sure they are the mixer of choice and it’s great to see alcoholic brands using a similar method to encourage purchase through education and complete meal solutions.

the 3 s’, space, shippers & six sheets

With more BWS sales going through the till during this festive quarter, brands should ensure they have sufficient stock in store to cater for the increased demand. Using secondary space such as gondola ends, shippers and pallets are a great way to help with availability, not to mention increased visibility around store. However, brands should be careful not to de-value their brands with a “pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap” tactic. Bespoke branded shippers with the ability to carry a brand message and creative are a better way at doing this. We recommend supporting this with other branded media like six sheets to further highlight the brand positioning.


the Super Six: retailer comparison

When comparing the BWS aisle in a similar timeframe in the Super Six a few observations can be made:

Retailers varied quite a lot in terms of what went on in the aisle this quarter. Whilst Morrisons and Co-op chose to focus their media on giving shoppers inspiration either through recipe content or food pairing suggestions, Asda used media such as hotspots to encourage spirits as a gift this Christmas – an eye catching secondary display which creates stand out in a busy aisle. Tesco focused their media on encouraging shoppers to stock up and increase their basket spend with a multi-buy promotion. Some Tesco stores have had their BWS section updated to have more of an independent off-licence look and feel, which despite deep discounts, helps the category still feel premium. This re-fit, is very much in-line with the growth of independent labels in the category, whilst many of the categories in store face range rationalisation, craft beers are in a different league with all supermarkets increasing their range. Waitrose extended their range by 27% this year, to a total of 95 different beers! But with so many different brands to choose from smaller brands should make sure they invest in media to stand out from the crowd.

key learnings

An extremely busy period for the beers, wines and spirits category with a huge amount of media driving a successful quarter of category growth. With so much noise going on in-store, it can be difficult for brands to stand out. BWS brands should make sure they are thinking carefully about how they activate in this period, looking at more unique ways to create cut through in a busy shopper space such as with consumption ideas or dialling up flavour profiles.

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Category Snapshot: Bakery Q4 2017


Category Snapshot:

Bakery Q4 2017

The bread market has been in value decline for the past four years, but it’s finally starting to recover, now down just 0.3% (The Grocer 2017). This growth is largely due to innovation in a category that was suffering as people turned to free-from or on-the-go options. Some big ATL campaigns have gone live too, which might have contributed to this growth.  


Halloween events: Trick or treat?

Many bakery brands bring out special editions of their products for Halloween, but how easy is it to land space and media within the store to promote this to shoppers? Mr Kipling’s Halloween range of cakes was supported with secondary space and front of store media, however in Tesco the retailer template imposed didn’t allow for much in-store impact. ASDA’s execution was far more intriguing, in line with the retailer’s strategy to prioritise in-store events. Although share of voice was reduced, the creative itself was fun and engaging – appearing branded whilst aligning to the retailer’s template.

an appearance from the buyer

We spotted some unusual POS at shelf this Christmas: two barkers promoting Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference private label cakes and biscuits, with endorsement from category buyers, a technique frequently used in the BWS category to promote wine. Whilst the figure of the buyer might not mean as much to the average shopper as to us in the industry, the recommendation is an effective tool to use at shelf, particularly where products aren’t easily differentiated from one another. Consider speaking to your Sainsbury’s buyer about how this worked for them; it might be something brands could be involved with going forwards.

Warburtons: Pride and Breadjudice

Very few of you will have escaped Peter Kay’s bare chest this quarter, since this much-talked about TV ad has translated into store, print and online too. Several versions of creative were spotted, with creative being brilliantly adapted to make sense in a busy environment. An FSDU in Co-op contained all the essentials: huge endorsement by a famous face (often pointing to the loaf itself), packs large enough to communicate the brand name, and a clear CTA: ‘start your loaf affair’. Secondary space such as this is a great way to increase product availability, however brands must ensure that they consider the product size with the unit. In this case, the unit itself was quite small comparative to the product size so would have needed frequent re-stocking, which, was not always the case.

the Super Six: retailer comparison

When comparing the bakery aisle in a similar timeframe in the Super Six a few observations can be made:

For morning goods and plant bread, it was a relatively quiet quarter despite the growth we’ve seen in the wider category. Hovis, Kingsmill and Warburtons all invested in fixture POS across the period, although not all was as STOP generating as possible. Fixture media in a highly saturated and fairly brand loyal category is important not only to win new shoppers and keep giving existing shoppers a reason to keep buying your brand, but also to break auto-pilot behaviour if you want your brand to be considered. Barkers tend to get lost in some retailers, given the visual variety on the shelf and in some the shelving itself doesn’t lend itself to barker opportunities. Aisle fins are more highly recommended here if you can get them away. With little opportunity to brand at shelf however, it is vital to get your branded message across via packaging and at the start of the shopper journey.

key learnings

Category growth indicates that shoppers are visiting this aisle again; brands just need to ensure that share isn’t lost entirely to the new innovations in the category. Brands looking to revive an existing SKU can all learn a lesson from Warburtons’ campaign this quarter: a great example of translating TV messaging below the line. Messaging in-store needs to be clear and concise whilst still relaying your brand’s identity.

Brands also need to remember the power of conversion in category. Where possible use fixture media, but if not available or appropriate, consider doing two things: 1) increase brand visibility out of category and drive to aisle and 2) utilise packaging/secondary space to your advantage to carry the believability message.

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Delivery based DNA

The Oxford English Dictionary definition for marketing is “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.” So, are we seriously considering Moz the Monster good form? Emotional storytelling is great for party small talk and opinion column fodder, but does it bring home the bacon? Are brands getting more than a viral video and some great tweets? Does the whole thing end in one single person picking up their product and taking it to the cashier, because if not, what’s the point?

Having worked with retailers for nearly 30 years, from Morrisons to World Duty Free, we’ve learnt a thing or two about physically shifting products off the shelves. We were born out of retail and we’re tired of seeing lame video campaigns and ballsy social media content – at the end of the day, we want to guarantee stability and financial security for our clients. It doesn’t always have to be a short film that wins six LION awards, but it does have to sell and make clients’ money.

There’s nothing wrong with personality, and everyone loves a great story, but we know our clients need purpose. Zany marketing campaigns trying to pull on heartstrings or cause a PR buzz are fine, but do the numbers add up? Are the millions spent on video editing and sound bites worth it? It’s time to dig down through the chaff to the fundamentals.

We know, brand awareness matters. OF COURSE it’s important, we’re not denying that, but it’s too easy these days to become sidelined by blowout creative ideas. Regardless of trends and likes, we remain focused on one thing: selling. We live for the KPIs and we thrive on hitting targets. A brand only exists if consumers are spending money on it, otherwise it’ll wilt and shrivel up. We’re never down for letting that happen.

Our purpose is to diminish the gulf between brand communication and sales conversion. How do we do this? Through years of experience in this field and a roster of 75 hugely talented staff. We have shared knowledge that makes us smart, agile and capable to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way. We not only admire but respect our clients – we care about the brands that we work with and this translates through our work. One of our key messages is to imagine every point of interaction as a point of purchase. We give our clients the courage, tools and skills to jump on those opportunities to close the conversion gap. Because you do have to mind that gap and it’s hella important to bridge it, make it smaller, bring it together or whatever you need to do to make sure sales ring true.

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How To Handle Out Of Stock Product Pages on An Ecommerce Shop For SEO Benefits

John Mueller from Google gave us all some tips on what Google expects to see from e-commerce sites they rank in their index. The question is; what to do with “out of stock” pages? We have 3 scenarios with out of stock pages: the product is permanently out of stock and never going to be in […]

Read the full article here How To Handle Out Of Stock Product Pages on An Ecommerce Shop For SEO Benefits

A Hobo Site Review can quickly identify any issues on your site that is holding your site back. See Hobo SEO Review Prices

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Previewing some big Super Bowl ads.

TMJ4 – February 2, 2018

It’s almost here! The Super Bowl is this Sunday on NBC, and while people are looking forward to the game, a lot of people can’t wait for the commercials! For those who can’t wait, we’re sharing a Super Bowl ad preview with a couple of advertising experts, Heather Shannon and Eric Ebenhoch from Cramer-Krasselt.


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Friday Reading #123

It’s a sad
week here at Goodstuff Towers, as we say goodbye to two cracking Goodstuffers,
Anna May and Alice Vida, who are off to conquer the digital and real world,
respectively. In honour, we’ll be playing Brian May and “Livin’ la Vida Loca”
on repeat all day. Should be fun. But of course, in between we will be reading
some of these fascinating things we have found from around the internet this

Editor’s Note: Anna May hired me so felt I had
to put something nice in.

I’m sure we’d all like the chance to one up the current
White House in some way but the Guggenheim have had just that chance. Despite a
request for a Van Gough, they
instead offered a golden toilet
. Trump probably took it as a compliment.

That’s right the hallmark holiday is fast approaching. Valentines is just
around the corner with its dreaded pitfalls.
Restaurants will be all booked up. You’ll break the bank for a decent
meal. Well what if you could enjoy a romantic meal for a slice of the price. A
steak slice to be correct. Greggs have
ingeniously paired up with Open Table
to offer a romantic four course meal
in their flashiest establishments for only £15. Table for 2, garcon…

Stop the waffle. Keep it relevant. So
BBH say
Editor: As a fan of waffle, this was tricky for me.

In a move to create more ‘meaningful connections’, Facebook recently announced
changes to their news feed algorithm. The aim, reduce the number of viral
videos and publisher content people see in their feeds, and increase the visibility
of posts from friends and family. The result, as expected they
have already seen a 5% dip in usage
. In our view, it can only be a good
thing, improving the social experience for all.

You’d think with people using Facebook less and having more time on
their hands, they would spend it in the great outdoors, say walking their dogs.
But after Wag, an on demand dog walking app, managed
to raise $300 million pounds
in funding it seems most people won’t be
bothering with that. Surely this kind of defeats the object of a having a dog?

So, what will people be doing with all that extra time? Obviously, they’ll be playing with Flame Throwers. Well they will now Elon
Musk has managed to raise $7.5m for his Boring Company, by selling 15,000
them. Crowdfunding has never been less boring.