The first cover stories examined proposed taxes on advertising and promotion (including one seeking to ban tobacco and alcohol marketing), former Pepsi executive Chris Sutherland’s appointment as executive director of the Promotion Marketing Association of America (PMAA), and Clorets’ quirky sponsorship of chili cook-offs.
The promotion marketing industry has changed dramatically since PROMO launched with that December 1987 issue.
Back then, annual spending on consumer promotion was estimated to be less than $20 billion, Wal-Mart had $15.9 billion in sales, and A.G. Lafley was a divisional advertising manager for Procter & Gamble.
Today, consumer promotion claims more than $100 billion annually, Wal-Mart rakes in more than $200 billion per year, and Lafley is P&G’s chairman.
That first issue also featured former J. Walter Thompson promotion chief Jack Scollay blasting coupons as a “short-sighted” tactic and two articles questioning the effectiveness of slotting fees and other trade allowances.
OK, so not everything has changed that dramatically.
But in most respects, it has. PROMO was launched because there was no trade publication offering anything but token coverage of couponing, sampling, in-store merchandising, and the other sales-driving tactics then classified as promotion. Today, the mainstream business media is filled with reports on advertising agency networks assuaging Wall Street’s concerns by highlighting those very same capabilities.
Nothing has changed as dramatically as the very definition of the term “promotion,” which in ’87 inevitably had the word “sales” before it and stood only for tactics that could directly — and immediately — drive purchase. Today, it stands for any call to action that brings a consumer into contact with a brand and lets the brand influence that consumer’s behavior — now or in the future.
|1987||December PROMO Launches|
|1988||April First Coupon Planning Calendar
June First Agency Directory
|1989||June First Marketing Services Directory|
|1990||November First PROMO Expo|
|1992||January PROMO Xtra newsletter launches
July First Annual Report of the U.S. Promotion Industry
|1993||June First PROMO 100|
|1995||June First photo cover|
|1996||July Promomagazine.com launches|
|1999||May First Entertainment Marketing Awards|
|2000||January First Promotion Trends Survey|
A magazine is only as good as its content, and PROMO has been fortunate to have received support over the years from thousands of marketing professionals who have devoted their time, their energy, and their insights to shaping the content — which reflects the way they’ve shaped the industry.
Therefore, it’s only appropriate that we again enlist their help to celebrate our 15th anniversary by getting them to reflect on how much the industry has changed since PROMO’s inception.
We asked all our readers to reflect on the most significant changes — or most noteworthy consistencies — they’ve seen over the years. We also asked a few key people — PROMO founders Kerry E. and Kerry J. Smith, that aforementioned first cover subject, Chris Sutherland, and our favorite industry cynic (and former columnist) Bernie Trueblood — to expound a little deeper.
As always, PROMO is proud to be here to report their observations.
“In 1987, we’d make a 30-second TV spot and run it during Saturday morning kids’ shows. We’d spend $1.2 million, and round it up to $2 million to make retailers think it was more impressive. Today, you’re talking about $75 million to launch a platform. And [the campaign] better be integrated or it becomes irrelevant.”
Then: Nintendo of America
Now: Retired in January
“Marketing is more critical today. You have to develop a brand in the eyes of the consumer and keep it relevant.”
Then: Eastman Kodak
“We’re spending a lot more time and energy on research and analysis. Comparatively, we were hip-shooting back then.”
Then: Frankel & Co.
“Visa, Kodak, McDonald’s, and John Hancock [have shown that] sponsorship shouldn’t solely be a branding vehicle, with an emphasis on massive GRPs and feel-good association, but is better used with promotion to drive specific consumer behavior while simultaneously reinforcing brand position.”
Then: CBS Radio, Washington, DC
Now: PowerPact LLC
“We’ve gone from co-op allowances to menu merchandising to account-specific marketing to category management to co-marketing. With each step, retailers and manufacturers have gotten more sophisticated.”
Then: J. Brown Associates
“Most people will probably say the movement of dollars to promotion budgets during this time was big, but I think that’s [misleading] because so much of those budgets contain coupons. And discount money isn’t brand building.”
Then: The Promotion Network
Now: The Promotion Network
“Brands and retailers are still, for the most part, doing their own things. But when they meet, it’s a beautiful thing.”
|1987||Case of the Missing Case, Miller Brewing|
|1988||Top Gun, Pepsi-Cola; Rockbill, Inc.|
|1989||Send the Families, Seagram Beverage; Siebel/Mohr|
|1990||Get Ready Giveaway, CBS/Kmart; Einson Freeman/Backer Spielvogel Bates/Ross Roy|
|1991||U.S. Olympic Festival Pins, Rainbow Foods; McCracken Brooks|
|1992||7-Eleven Sound Off, Southland Corp.; Promotional Resources Group/W.B. Doner|
|1993||Soviet Union Going-Out-Of-Business Sale, Barq’s|
|1994||Who Laid a Finger on Bart’s Butterfinger?, Nestlé; Alcone Sims O’Brien|
|1995||Saturn Homecoming, Saturn Corp.; Carlson Marketing Group/Hal Riney & Partners|
|1996||BMW/Golden Eye, MGM/United Artists/BMW of North America|
|1997||Read Me A Story, Visa USA; Frankel/BBDO/Ketchum|
|1998||Home Delivery, Packard Bell NEC; b. little & Co.|
|1999||Get Ready to Fly, Tommy Hilfiger/Nintendo; Westcott Marketing|
|2000||Launch of Blue, American Express; Momentum|
|2001||Survivor, CBS Television|
Then: Kraft Foods
Now: CoActive Marketing Group
“Remember how Internet promotions completely eclipsed 800-number programs in the ‘90’s? Now that seems like comparing compact discs to eight-track tapes.”
Lisa Valentine O’Beirne
Then: Don Jagoda Associates
Now: Full-time mom
“Guerrilla marketing, FSIs, sweepstakes, P-O-S, and other dinosaurs of the old guard are on their way out, ushered to the door by more educated, more savvy, and more critical consumers.”
Then: High school senior
Now: Flair Communications
“The same basic promotional tactics remain. But new technology allows us to go back and revisit them in a more effective way.”
|1993||Ross Roy Communications
(Now InterOne Marketing Group)
|1995||Louis London (Now part of Momentum)|
|1996||Dugan Valva Contess|
|1997||Frankel & Co.|
Agency of the Decade: DVC Group
|2000||The Zipatoni Co.|
Then: Walt Disney Co.
Now: Max Goldberg & Associates
“Marketers have elevated the notion of promotion to a much more strategic perspective. We’ve moved beyond purchase to preference, and hopefully someday to insistence.”
Then: Coca-Cola Co.
Now: The Timberland Co.
“The Internet is solving problems in the marketing mix — like reaching kids — that can’t be solved elsewhere.”
Now: America Online
“In 1987, it was all about shelf-talkers. Now, you have to be on TV, online, in a magazine, and have killer P-O-S.”
“The industry’s been through two eras of agency consolidation. But smaller independents still thrive.”
Then: Marketing Corp. of America
“We’re deeper into the client business than we were then. That’s good news for the relationship, and bad news for profits — because you do more for less.”
Then: Frankel & Co.
“We’ve become so much more sophisticated. It’s not five coupons and three FSIs anymore.”
Then: Ocean Spray
Now: Devine & Pearson
|1991||Meaty Bone Challenge, Heinz; Leo Burnett|
|1992||You Make My Snout Wet, Blitz-Weinhard
Brewing; Perpetual Promotion/Two-Six Marketing
|1993||Marlboro Adventure Team, Philip Morris; Leo Burnett USA|
|1994||Bugs, Minnesota Zoo; Rapp Collins Communications|
|1995||Salad Time for Kids, Tanimura & Antle;
|1996||NBA Jam Van, NBA Properties; GMR Marketing|
|1997||Java Jane, R.J. Groux; Gage Marketing Group|
|1998||Take Charge of Education, Target Stores;
|1999||Live Well, Snack Well, Nabisco; WatersMolitor|
|2000||Tamiflu Launch, Roche; Momentum|
|2001||Tossed & Found, GE; Ryan Partnership|
“The most significant change is the use of promotion in so many categories other than packaged goods.”
Then: General Foods
Now: REB Associates
“An industry that was long discounted by everyone except the people in it has been legitimized.”
Then: Frankel & Co.
Now: Marketing Store Worldwide
“Smart marketers have — very slowly — come to realize that you not only can, but must, build the brand and volume simultaneously.”
Now: Source Marketing
“Event marketers have moved from pipe-and-drape setups and U-hauls to fully customized vehicles and trucks, marking a dramatic shift in the success of those promotions.”
|1990||Herbert Baum, president, Campbell Soup North America|
|1991||Joseph Durrett, senior vp-sales, Kraft/General Foods|
|1992||George Schweitzer, senior vp-marketing, CBS|
|1993||Pat Buchanan, political expert|
|1994||Patricia Aburdene, author|
|1995||Steve Petracca, ceo, Reply Corp.|
|1996||Larry King, TV personality|
|1997||Sharon Fordham, Life Savers; William Hodges, Discover Card|
|1998||Dean Barrett, vp-global marketing, McDonald’s Corp.|
|1999||Bob Butterworth, attorney general of Florida|
|2000||Warren Kornblum, executive vp-worldwide marketing, Toys “R” Us|
|2001||R.J. Milano, vp-U.S. marketing, McDonald’s and Grant Palin, vp-corporate alliances, Walt Disney Co.|
Then: Ohio State University
“The Internet, cable and satellite, mobile commerce, and frequent-shopper programs are all examples of technologies that offer both promise (the ability of marketers to target more effectively) and threat (the loss of personal privacy) for consumers.”
Then: Grey Advertising
Now: Coogan & Partners
“The agency side became a very viable option for many client-side promotion professionals. Who better to call on a client than someone who was one? Plus, the money was better.”
Then: General Foods
Now: Exceleration Training & Consulting
“Marketing is much more complex now: more choices, fewer assurances, faster changes, and it’s tougher to measure. This is a function of media prices, consumer changes, Wall Street, competition, deflation, and Wal-Mart.”
Then: Ralston Purina
“Entertainment properties now get more actively involved in creating a meaningful solution to [tie-in partners'] needs. As a result, the promotional programs today contain a greater level of integration between the property and the brand.”
Then: Promotional Innovations
Now: Alcone Marketing Group
“Marketers today promote together with other marketers who share a common customer target. Why? To share costs, and because the offer they can make together is more compelling to the consumer than any offer they could generate on their own.”
Then: J. Brown Associates
“The defining moment was Super Bowl 1992. Fox Television … counter-programmed the Super Bowl half-time show with a special edition of In Living Color. That event transformed the Super Bowl into the greatest platform for marketing showmanship.”
Then: KISW-FM, Seattle
Now: Rainmaker Media
“There is a cachet to entertainment marketing that is hard to beat. Now that more marketers have gotten involved, the challenge is finding innovative ways to use [it.]”
Then: Twentieth Century Fox
Now: Princeton Video
“There’s one thing I know will never change: I’ll never be able to tell my mother, in 25 words or less, exactly what it is that I do for a living.”
Then: Heller & Cohen
“What hasn’t changed is that it’s still fun.”