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Sales Promotion Case Studies

Updated on September 1, 2010


What is a Sales Promotion

A Sales Promotion refers to any activity that leads to a temporary and reasonable increase in Sales. While the most common sales promotion activities include temporary reduction in price, free gift offers, contests, sweepstakes or games; the avenue has now opened up for far more exciting activities.

In this series of posts we would like to share with you some Sales Promotion resources and case studies.

About Wooqer

Wooqer is an entity that provides tools to enable Businesses create and execute smarter and more efficient Sales promotions, both online and offline. Using Wooqer:

  • Any Business/Brand/Retailer- big or small, can create and publish promotions on Wooqer, without any fee.
  • Data is collected real time from as well as data partenrs, and analyzed to recommend appropriate promotions to Marketers
  • Through, various manufacturers can make a pitch to associate with Brands, for possible joint promotions.
  • Marketers can choose the promotion they wish to go for, choose an OEM (if any) and create promotions using Wooqer's 'Yumeya' platform (aida.
  • Yumeya connects the Marketer to internal decision makers (along with supporting data) as well as agencies/executors for a seamless promotion creation
  • The promotion thus created can be executed both online and offline.

Case Study - Farmville

Farmville gained 58 million users in just 6 months after launch and that is about as successful a Sales Promotion as there ever was.

So what made Farmville so successful?

  1. The game is really sticky. It makes you come back every few hours or at least once in 2-3 days for you to play meaningfully. And however boring it might be, it's tough to let go once you start.
  2. It helps you stay connected by receiving and giving gifts to friends all the time. It may not be very meaningful interaction, but it somehow gives one something to look forward to each day, specially to those who are not working (are at home) and thus would like to be able to stay connected in some way without having too much to say.
  3. Viral - Nothing is quite as viral as Farmville. The well written status updates and messages are a clear indication of how well Zynga understand user psychographics.

Farmville undoubtedly sets the tone for a new era of Social Promotions where it is not the seller but the users promoting the product.

Case Study - Coke Auction

Coke auction first took place in Aug-Dec 2000, in partnership with QXL, with the set up of

It involved consumers (primarily teen targeted) bidding for items using credits. instead of credit cards

Consumers got 500 free credits just by registering at the website and could accumulate further credits by buying promotional cans of Coke and sending the ring-pulls and bottle labels from the same to Coca-Cola GB. Coke tied up with brands like Nike and Sony to offer auction items ranging from CDs and games software to WAP phones and MP3 players. Consumers could also bid for Makeovers or tickets to England World Cup qualifiers.

The promotional was very successful with more than 100,000 registrations, more than 800,000 user impressions and the average user session lasting 12 minutes per visit. The campaigns banner ad alone generated close to 10,000 participants

One consumer collected 16,800 ring-pulls and the highest number of items won by one individual was 124.

The promotion positioned Coke as a progressive, exciting and relevant teenage brand and got Coke the Revolution Award for Digital Economy in Great Britain. Definitely a successful Sales promotion.

Case Study- Cadbury's Creme Eggs Treasure Hunt

As Cadbury’s Creme Eggs leave the factory in a van, in their excitement they jump around and accidentally knock open the van door, falling out onto the grassy verge. They land on their heads and suffer from amnesia, then wander off and forget that their destiny is to release their goo.

Creme Eggs are to be found roaming the internet on sites including MTV, Yahoo and Youtube.

Consumers are challenged to locate them and enter a special code into the Creme Egg website for a chance to win a range of prizes including Creme Egg key rings, spoons, beach balls, Red Letter Day experiences and a trip to New York.

This year the campaign had its own website and moved to the internet. It also extended to a quiz on Facebook – ‘Goo am I?’ in which the eggs, still suffering from amnesia, post cryptic clues and ask the 300,000-plus fans to help identify them.

The site also had Goo games for users.

When the campaign was launched in 2008, it garnered 82 ,million ad impressions, reached more than 18 million users and drove 740,000 clicks, with an average click through rate of 0.99% (FMCG average being 0.53%) The overall campaign recognition was 54% among adults. The campaign received the Grand Prix at the AOL/Media Week Online Planning Awards.

Case Study - Adidas: Bonded by Blood

In 2006, Adidas launched a marketing campaign to bring fans closer to New Zealand’s hugely popular All Blacks Rugby Team- a little too close!

All the 40 team members donated their blood, which was thereby mixed into the in used to make a poster of the team. The poster was given to fans who bought a $70 All Blacks jersey made by Adidas. Each of the 8000 posters came with a certificate of authenticity.

The promotion was promoted through advertising on radio, outdoor and online media.

The objective of the campaign was to create an emotional bond between the All Blacks Rugby squad and their fans and grow sales of All Blacks apparel by 15%. It ended up with a total sell out of all posters and a 24% increase in sales.

The campaign won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lion Awards 2007.

Case Study - HBO Voyeur Project

The HBO Voyeur Project, a theatrical multimedia experience, was launched in the summer of 2007. It included a promotional video shown on the side of a Manhattan Building. The screen was placed in such a way that it seemed like people could see through actual apartments in the building (like peeping Toms).

The video showed the life of people living in 8 fictional apartments. The stories involve murder, violence, romance, marriage and cheating.

The campaign which received a lot of critical praise and extended the user’s involvement by continuing the campaign with ongoing HBO mobile, online(Myspace) and HBO on demand elements.

The campaign goal was to fortify HBO against increasing competition by strengthening the brand's relationship with super-fans.

HBO Voyeur strengthened super-fans' perception of the HBO brand: 74% said Voyeur set the HBO brand apart. 72% claimed it made them think HBO is better than other networks. 60% said it made them more interested in the HBO brand. The campaign led to improved feelings towards programming, even though Voyeur was not linked to any specific shows. Additionally, 3,200+ people visited the Manhattan event, over 1 million users visited within the first 3 weeks and more than 500 bloggers wrote about it, prompting conversations and debate (Nielsen BuzzMetrics).

The campaign received 2 Grand Prix, 5 Golds, a Silver and a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Festival.

Case Study - Kellog's Star Wars

Drawing on the success of Star Wars movies, Kellog’s carried out a Sales Promotion targeting families, The event coincided with the release of the final Starwars movie- Revenge of the Sith

They used a 30 second TV ad linking their own characters with Star Wars.

30 million promotional packs were released with free Light sabers or a chance to win a Light Saber signed by the actor Chrisopher Lee or one of 500 runners-up prizes of a Hasbro electric Lightsaber.

The promotion, which cost nearly GB 250,000 ran across both cereal brands and some cereal bars.

The advertising for the product reached 65% of its target market and led to Kellog’s share of the ready to eat cereal market for families rise from its usual 40-45% to 53%

An extra 859,000 households purchased at least one of the Star Wars brands during the promotion.

Case Study - Band Aid - Pizza Hut

BandAid recognized that although the purchaser of their product is mothers, it’s the kids who are the biggest users.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, characters based on their fight for right and love of pizza were the rage with kids. Taking on from the same, a promotion was launched wherein Band Aid was packaged with a Pizza hut voucher that entitled the bearer to a $5 pizza.

Although the cost of BandAid was lower than the prize of Pizza, given the benefit of increased footfall, Pizza Hut provided the vouchers free to J & J.

Over the promotion trimester, sales of Band Aid increased by 25%

Characteristics of a successful Sales Promotion


Reduced Price

The perceived value of the product should go up on account of the promotion. Marketeers usually do this the easy way- By reducing the price of the product through sales, discount coupons, sweepstakes etc. When the price goes down, the user suddenly sees more value at the given price. This is what Kohl's does when it sends discount coupons or gives free Kohls Cash to shoppers every month.

Free Gifts

Another way to increase value is by giving away free gifts. This does work well when both the product been bought and being received as a free gift are considered valuable and useful by the users. BandAid giving away free Pizza vouchers from Pizza Hut and the free toy in the McDonalds Happy Meal are some of the more successful campaigns in this category.


Creating an association with another Brand, event, movie or person may also lead to a temporary increase in the Value perceived by the user. This kind of Promotions are usually seen around festivals when festival driven sales are being targeted, or around calamities when buying is linked to donations for the afflicted.

Increased (Real) Value

While Sales usually lead to increase in perceived value, real value of a product may also be increased by giving more at the same price. This may involve increasing the package size in the consumer goods space, giving 3 months extra subscription for a magazine, or books personally signed by the author.


Creating user engagement is probably the most interesting and difficult of all Sales promotions. The Adidas Bonded By Blood campaign and the HBO Voyeur Project are the most brilliantly conceived and executed campaigns and were both based on increasing the user's engagement with the Brand. Adidas appealed to the emotional side of Rugby fans by helping them 'connect' with the Rugby Team. The HBO Voyeur project on the other hand appealed to the curiosity and the desire for drama and entertainment.


A campaign that does not expedite the consumer's Buying decision isn't really a Sales promotion campaign. Urgency is typically created by limiting the time period for the offer (offer valid till.....), or changing the demand supply equation (limited edition watch, author signed books, early bird rewards), or more innovative campaigns like the Coke Auction. The critical thing here is that the perceived value increase of the product needs to justify the inconvenience caused on account of expedited purchase.

Case Study - Strongbow Bowtime

In 2008, Strongbow launched a UK based mobile campaign called ‘Bowtime’ wherein people could text a short code and in return receive a voucher which could be exchanged for a pint at local pubs, during Bowtime (5-7 pm) every Tuesday.

Samples were distributed on the first day and photos of users with their drinks were made available to take away and were also posted after the event on Facebook. Virtual pints were also made available to people through ‘Flirtomatic’

The objective was to reach out to 18-35 year old manual workers and get them to have a drink after a hard day’s work. The campaign resulted in 90,000 new users getting added to the Brand’s userbase and led to 112,225 pints ordered via mobile coupons, 300k ad impressions served on Flirtomatic and 30,000 virtual pint gifts. Strongbow sales peaked in 2008...

In 2009 the campaign was relaunched with a website and the tag line ‘Hard earned’ was used. Strongbow also launched a spoof viral on their own ad wherein workers were celebrated and Bankers were picked upon. Further activity included mobile barcodes, a pub locator, on pack promotions and virtual pint promotions. Participants were also entered into a 4 month CRM campaign, featuring free pint and festival ticket offers, MMS animations and wind-up-a-mate promotions There were also 60 prizes a day for 60 days

The campaign prompted a 39% response rate and led to a claimed purchase increase of 44% and a brand preference increase of 8% in those who had received the CRM activity


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    • profile image

      buy senuke 

      7 years ago

      What an ingenious tool! I will be trying this out for myself.


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