Saturday, September 08, 2007

CBS takes to grocery stores with a plan to brand deli meat

It's been a while since an article in Advertising Age has cracked me up, but how can you not laugh at a title like "Hey Deli Man, Can I Get a Pound of Ham, and Jimmy Smits?" What does it have to do with retail, you ask? Well, interestingly it looks like CBS has started a new campaign that will be featured, among other places, on packaging and containers at supermarkets across the country. Following up on a successful in-store campaign that involved laser-etching messages onto thousands of individual eggs, CBS will be slapping ads for their shows onto labels, stickers, boxes and bags for supermarket deli products, ensuring that the roughly 70% of supermarket shoppers that visit the deli, meat or seafood counters will have a chance to see their promotions. Even more cleverly, as the article points out, those who do take home a package emblazoned with the catchphrase for Two and a Half Men (or whatever) will be re-exposed to that message every time they open the fridge. And if you're like me and frequently forget about things you've put in there, it could be a while before that package of cold cuts finally disappears.

Apparently aside from trying to reach a different audience, CBS's nontraditional tactics have another advantage: they're cheap, especially when compared to the cost of producing and carrying TV commercials (which is kind of ironic considering that they own a major network). Given all the news of CBS's intent to purchase in-store TV company SignStorey, we can see that CBS is clearly concerned by increasing media fragmentation and the new challenges associated with reaching an audience.

While grocery stores have huge footfall and have a very broad appeal demographically speaking, I for one am still not quite sure I'd be more likely to tune in to CSI after glancing at a label while rummaging around for a snack. But there are probably plenty of people who will, and that's what CBS is counting on.

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