Thursday, June 28, 2012

P&G, Walmart Create Buzz With ‘Mobile’ Promotion


Procter & Gamble and Walmart have worked on a number of initiatives over the years, but few have brought them to a hip and timely convergence like @PGMobile. The partners together are peppering New York and Chicago – two crucial urban markets for the future for Walmart – with a savvy new summertime promotion based on mobile QR codes, Walmart.com and P&G’s massive sponsorship of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

@PGMobile just wrapped up its first week in New York, where a food-truck-style vehicle trolls the streets with QR codes of eight P&G brands emblazoned on its sides. People passing by can capture the codes and buy instantly from Walmart.com for its “everyday low prices” as well as be exposed to P&G’s promotion starring U.S. Olympic athletes.

And in Chicago, the two companies have wrapped 12 bus shelters on the “Miracle Mile,” the city’s upscale shopping district on Michigan Avenue. The wraps feature QR codes for nine P&G brands and also visages of athletes such as swimming phenom Michael Phelps who will be competing for the United States in London this summer.

“If you look at the e-commerce business and think about the urban markets of New York and Chicago, we don’t necessarily see a lot of those consumers online for consumables,” Tim Marrin, external-communications leader for P&G’s Walmart customer team, told CPGmatters.

“They’re just not used to buying them online. So from our standpoint, [the initiatives] are a great way to get out our message, tied to our Olympics sponsorship, and give people a landing page where they can actually order consumables online.”

Marrin is a P&G exec actually based in Walmart’s headquarters town of Bentonville, Ark. – one indication of how closely the two companies work together. And while such geographic arrangements are common not only for P&G and Walmart, but for P&G and other CPG suppliers and other big retailers, Cincinnati-based P&G and America’s largest retailer really do have a special relationship of working together.

And it’s not always in the aisles. For years, the two companies have fought together to promote “family-friendly” TV programming and lately have even co-produced some movies that have run on primetime on major broadcast networks featuring P&G products and wrapped in Walmart and P&G commercials.

For @PGMobile, the partners outfitted the truck with QR codes for Bounty paper towels, Head & Shoulders shampoo and Iams dog food on one side, for example, and are taking it throughout New York for the month of June. Young staffers in QR-code-emblazoned t-shirts are giving out tens of thousands of sample packages and, just as important, are there to exhort busy New Yorkers to pull out their smartphones. If the consumers do that, and go to Walmart.com and order $45 in goods, they’ll get free delivery to boot. 

Walmart introduced free home shipping for such purchases last year to compete more effectively with Amazon. Walmart.com also began selling big-ticket items such as some HDTVs exclusively online. Yet online sales accounted for only about 2% of Walmart’s revenue last year, which overall grew by 8%
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P&G has its own online store, but decided that helping drive traffic to Walmart.com – for its brands – was the best way to enable @PGMobile. The truck in New York is visiting food festivals, for instance, with stops also scheduled for the Fashion District, Union Square Park and other iconic New York sites.

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