Giant Leaps

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

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.

Personal Milestones
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.”
Peter Main

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.”
William Smith

Then: Eastman Kodak
Now: Hewlett-Packard

“We’re spending a lot more time and energy on research and analysis. Comparatively, we were hip-shooting back then.”
Bud Frankel

Then: Frankel & Co.
Now: Frankel

“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.”
Alison Glander

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.”
Neil Contess

Then: J. Brown Associates
Now: Consultant

“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.”
Roger Winter

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.”
Tim O’Krongly

PMA Super Reggies
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.”
Kimberly Fraher

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.”
Max Goldberg

PROMO 100 Agencies of the Year
1993 Ross Roy Communications
(Now InterOne Marketing Group)
1994 Flair Communications
1995 Louis London (Now part of Momentum)
1996 Dugan Valva Contess
1997 Frankel & Co.
1998 Cyrk-Simon Worldwide
1999 Upshot
Agency of the Decade: DVC Group
2000 The Zipatoni Co.
2001 Momentum

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.”
Frank Bifulco

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.”
Mark Hosbein

Then: Nabisco
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.”
Pam Kaufman

Then: Beaumont-Bennett
Now: Nickelodeon

“The industry’s been through two eras of agency consolidation. But smaller independents still thrive.”
Bob Zappi

Then: Marketing Corp. of America
Now: Catalyst

“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.”
Bud Frankel

Then: Frankel & Co.
Now: Frankel

“We’ve become so much more sophisticated. It’s not five coupons and three FSIs anymore.”
Bob Fallon

Then: Ocean Spray
Now: Devine & Pearson

Top U.S. PRO Awards Winners
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;
Strottman International
1996 NBA Jam Van, NBA Properties; GMR Marketing
1997 Java Jane, R.J. Groux; Gage Marketing Group
1998 Take Charge of Education, Target Stores;
OptionOne
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.”
Bob Balzer

Then: General Foods
Now: REB Associates

“An industry that was long discounted by everyone except the people in it has been legitimized.”
David Tridle

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.”
Howard Steinberg

Then: Pepsi-Cola
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.”
Jeffrey Miller

PROMO Expo Keynotes
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
Now: Seismicom

“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.”
Ken Coogan

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.”
Jim Petzing

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.”
Jim Holbrook

Then: Ralston Purina
Now: Zipatoni

“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.”
James Zembruski

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.”
Neil Contess

Then: J. Brown Associates
Now: Consultant

“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.”
Beau Phillips

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.]”
Steve Ross

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.”
Fran Heller

Then: Heller & Cohen
Now: Wunderman

“What hasn’t changed is that it’s still fun.”
George Schweitzer

Then: CBS
Now: CBS

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