Here Are 10 Sales Promotion Examples Worth Copying From CPG Brands

Sales promotions are an age-old trick in any marketer's arsenal. And they're — more often than not — effective for obvious reasons: Consumers want products they buy delivered fast, and they want them for less.

But while your sales promotions usually need to win the attention (and the wallets) of consumers, during COVID, you also need them to deliver exceptional value. 

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel though; we’ve gathered inspiring examples and takeaways that you can apply to your next campaign.

So without further ado, here are 10 remarkable sales promotions from CPG brands. 

1. Oscar Mayer’s “For the Love of Hot Dogs” free sample sales promotion

Image credit: Oscar Mayer

Healthy eating trends caught the attention of quintessential hot dog brand Oscar Mayer. 

As their head of marketing Greg Guidotti explained, "Consumers loved Oscar Mayer hot dogs, but they were buying them less as they were concerned about some of the ingredients."

So, after considerable research, they changed the recipe to make their product healthier for consumers by removing all added nitrates, nitrites, and artificial preservatives from their hot dogs.

To promote the new and improved recipe, Oscar Mayer launched its spectacular “for the love of hot dogs” campaign. They kicked things off in early summer, just in time for prime hot dog eating season.

The centerpiece of the multichannel campaign was the iconic Wienermobile (Oscar Mayer’s hot dog-shaped vehicle). To show how far they would go to put a better hot dog in people’s hands, Oscar Mayer sent the Weinermobile to unexpected places.

Like on a barge on its way to Governor’s Island in New York...

The campaign was wildly popular, garnering coverage in over 1,500 media outlets including Fortune, Forbes, Bon Appetit, Delish, and the Chicago Tribune. 

The hashtag #ForTheLoveOfHotDogs was used over 8,800 times, and a video of the Weinermobile in Alaska received over 7 million views. 

Plus, Oscar Mayer hot dog sales rose 3.4% in the first month of the campaign alone.

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID:

  • Use outdoor sampling as a safer alternative to in-store demos. (You might not have a Wienermobile, but people still love freebies.)

  • Running an integrated, multichannel campaign will help you get the most out of your promotion. Oscar Mayer ran ads, gave out samples, created a hashtag contest, and more.

  • Connect your campaign to a current trend. In Oscar Mayer’s case, it was healthy eating. During COVID, you can connect your campaign to relevant trends like health and wellness, e-commerce, stockpiling, and anything to do with life at home and staying safe.

  • Create something share-worthy to drive organic social media engagement. We’re talking about a catchy hashtag, an Instagram-worthy sample, or a unique experience.

2. Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” contest sales promotion

Image credit: Lay’s

Pepsico’s classic potato chip brand Lay’s was in a rut and struggling to make inroads with millennials. So Lay’s decided to run a contest promotion to build enthusiasm for their product.

They kicked off the campaign with a pop-up tent in Times Square. Then, they launched a Facebook page where people could submit ideas for new flavors. At the end of the contest, Lay's would produce the top three flavors and the public would choose the winner. 

And to make things even better, the creator of the winning flavor would win $1 million.

Not surprisingly, the contest generated a lot of excitement. People were submitting flavors in droves. Once submitted, contestants received an image of their own flavored Lay’s bag.

It was social media gold.

People were sharing their Lay’s bags and voting for favorites. Lay’s even partnered with Facebook to change the “Like” button to an “I’d eat that” button.

Celebrity chef Michael Symon and actress Eva Longoria narrowed the submissions to the top three and then Lay’s put them in stores.

Image credit: Lay’s

In the first year of the contest, Lay’s received 3.8 million submissions, 22.5 million Facebook page visits, and a 12% increase in sales. 

Due to its staggering success, Lay’s ran the contest annually for several years. Winning flavors included Cheesy Garlic Bread, Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, and Crispy Taco. 

Frito-Lay’s senior director of marketing Sarah Guzman said of the most recent contest, "This year's competition was fueled not only by great flavors but also by the people and stories behind each one of them. We've now introduced a total of 14 flavors to America throughout this iconic contest and, if one thing has remained unchanged, it is that our fans have incredible ideas for the next flavors of Lay's.”

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID:

  • Use contests to build engagement and enthusiasm. Check out these software tools to get you started. 

  • Use contests to gauge consumer preferences at a low cost. Lay's contest basically replaced an expensive and lengthy research & development process.

  • Make your contest interactive to build brand loyalty.

3. Cumberland Farm’s “National Ice Cream Day” limited-time offer sales promotion

Cumberland Farms is a convenience store with over 600 locations on the East Coast.

They ran a promotion on National Ice Cream Day (July 19th) to increase sales of Ultimate Scoop, their in-house ice cream brand.

Using Koupon’s mobile offer technology, Cumberland Farms offered a digital coupon for $1 off any pint of Ultimate Scoop.

Existing customers received the coupon via text message on the morning of July 19th, and new customers could text in to participate. 

Takeaways for your discount promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • Tie your promotion to a relevant holiday or event to boost enthusiasm. 

  • Partner with a mobile offer technology company to offer digital coupons and special offers. 

4. Bud Light “Victory Fridge” giveaway sales promotion 

Image credit: Anheuser-Busch

 

Back in 2018, the poor Cleveland Browns hadn’t won a game in nearly 21 months. The city and its devout fans stood by their loveable losers though, never losing faith.

 

In a stroke of genius, Bud Light seized the moment and installed “Victory Fridges” across the city. They painted the fridges Cleveland orange and filled them to the brim with cold Bud Light.

 

The catch? The Victory Fridges were locked with chains and WiFi padlocks to be opened only when the Browns won their first game. And then given out for free to the team’s loyal fans. 

 

“When the Browns win, Cleveland wins.”

 

 

Luckily, it didn’t take the Browns long to deliver. In September, they beat the Jets 21-17, securing their first win in 635 days. 

 

The Victory Fridges were so connected to the win that quarterback Baker Mayfield asked in the post-game interview, “Did they open the Bud Light things?”   

 

Obviously, the campaign was insanely successful. 

Bud Light generated over 2 billion earned media impressions and 313 million social impressions. They received 80,000 Twitter mentions in less than 12 hours. And 500,000 more beers were sold year-over-year in Cleveland. 

ESPN’s Darren Rovell said the night of the Browns’ victory alone was worth nearly $7 million in publicity


Image credit: Anheuser-Busch/3PM Agency

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • Go local. It can be easier to make an emotional connection with your customers with a localized campaign. And during COVID, people are staying close to home so it will resonate even more. 

  • Don’t be afraid to insert your brand into cultural moments. By doing so, your product naturally becomes part of the conversation. 

  • Keep it simple. When you think about the Victory Fridge, it’s such a simple idea, right? Give people free beer when their team wins and they’ll love you for it. Find something simple that suits your brand in the same way. 

5. Pipcorn’s “Buy One Give One” BOGO sales promotion

Prior to COVID, the Shark Tank-funded snack company Pipcorn relied on in-store sampling to spread the word about its new snack product. 

When stay-at-home orders and social distancing mandates hit the nation, however, Pipcorn had to get creative. 

So they launched a “Buy One Give One” campaign where customers could ship a free bag of Pipcorn to a friend with a qualifying order. 

Not only did Pipcorn find a way to replace in-store demos, but they also collected new customer data for future promotions. 

Plus, they encouraged upselling because customers had to buy a 4-pack to get the BOGO deal. 

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • Get creative with sampling strategies. Sending samples with online orders is a great way to make up for lost exposure. 

  • Help consumers engage in social relationships. People were (and still are) lonely. They miss their friends and social outlets. So offer a promotion that allows people to foster social relationships and connect with their loved ones they can’t see in person. 

  • Strike the right tone. Pipcorn’s empathetic message was on-point in the spring when the pandemic hit. 

6. Oreo’s “The Stuf Inside” sales promotion

Image credit: OREO

Oreo launched its "The Stuf Inside" promotional campaign to celebrate its 107th birthday in 2019. It was a limited time, 30-day promotion that ran from February 4th through March 6th.

And March 6th just happens to be National Oreo Day (yep, apparently that’s a thing).

The campaign was multi-faceted, featuring a limited time product, branded giveaways, and a social media engagement.

The limited-time product was a new cookie called “Most Stuf” that had the most creme filling of any Oreo to date. As for the branded giveaways, Oreo created an interactive game to unlock daily treats. After scanning their Oreo, fans could twist open a virtual cookie to reveal a prize.

Oreo partnered with popular brands to create unique giveaways. There was an Oreo-tricked-out Jeep Wrangler, an Oreo K2 Snowboard, and an Oreo Xbox One. Oh and let’s not forget the fan-favorite Oreo iRobot Roomba: 

Besides the big stuff, there were also lots of smaller prizes to make everyone feel like a winner. The frequency of the prizes helped boost engagement and people had a lot of fun with this campaign. 

 

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • Limited-time promotions still work to create that sense of urgency and excitement. 

  • Boost enthusiasm by aligning your campaign with a holiday or event. 

  • Go digital. Engagement on digital platforms is through the roof during COVID. Meet people where they are and include a digital aspect to your campaign.

7. Naked Juice “Live Naked” sales promotion

 

Image credit: Naked Juice

Naked spent years at the top of the premium juice category. But an onslaught of competition threatened to take their crown.

So the juice brand launched a multichannel promotional campaign called "Live Naked." The goals were to defend their position as a category leader, increase market share, and maintain their premium price point. 

At the core of Naked's strategy was their loyal customer base, known as the “Bare Believers.” These believers were already apt to promote Naked's product. But Naked thought they could do more.

So they asked them to promote the brand's core values. In exchange, Naked offered incentives like a year of free juice or a feature spot in a national advertisement.

Naked also used social media influencers to piggyback on the exposure generated by the believers. 

Plus, Naked launched new flavors and sent their juice truck out to events to give out free samples. 

At the end of the campaign, Naked’s market share was at 48% and sales had risen 26% year-over-year. 

Image credit: Naked Juice

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • Running an integrated, multichannel campaign will help you get the most out of your promotion. Naked used social media influencers, created new products, ran paid ads, gave out samples, and more.

  • Connect your promotion to a relevant trend. 

  • Leverage your loyal customer base to promote your product by giving them incentives. 

  • Communicate your brand’s values to make an emotional connection with customers. 

8. Supply’s free gift sales promotion

Supply, the high-end razor company, rarely discounted its products before COVID. But when sales plummeted in the spring, they decided to give it a try.

Patrick Coddou, Supply’s founder, said, “I knew the day would come when our price point would be a hard sell in this environment.”

They tried a few different tactics before landing on one that worked. The winner? Buy a razor and get a whole year of blades for free.

Image credit: Supply Co. 

With people stockpiling essentials, the opportunity to get a year’s supply struck a chord. The razor company launched the promotion on a Friday and had their best weekend sales volume since Black Friday. 

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • Provide stock up opportunities for your customers. Think subscription programs, product bundles, and bulk discounts. 

  • Your brand may need to try a different strategy than you used in the past. COVID is changing everything and you need to be nimble. 

9. Acqua Panna’s digital coupon sales promotion

Nestle introduced its Acqua Panna spring water to take advantage of a growing market

The Tuscan spring water had dominated the restaurant industry for decades, but it was new to the CPG scene. To build awareness and drive trial, Nestle partnered with Koupon (yep, that’s us).

First, we designed a one-month mobile offer campaign using retailer-owned digital channels.  These channels included loyalty apps, text messages, social media feeds, and in-store signage.

Then we ran a robust digital marketing campaign with targeted ads on Facebook and other sites. These strategies achieved over 1 million impressions, plus those from in-app and in-store signage. As a result, Acqua Panna’s sales increased by 7.3%

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • There’s no need to do it alone. Use partnerships to your advantage, expanding capabilities that would otherwise be too costly.  

  • Use mobile coupons. Consumers are hungry for deals and they’re already on their phones. 

10. Coca Cola’s “Make Every Sip Count” customer loyalty sales promotion

Image credit: Coca Cola

Personal rewards aren’t the only way to a customer’s heart. In fact, for many people, charitable reward programs are more inspiring.

Take Coca Cola’s “Make Every Sip Count” campaign, for example.

The program was forged in 2018 as a partnership with Family Dollar and the Boys and Girls Club. When customers buy Coke products at Family Dollar, 10% of the entire purchase is donated to the Boys and Girls Club.

Mark Rahiya, Chief Retail Sales Officer for Coca-Cola North America, said

"Over the past 70 years, Coca-Cola has committed itself to supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as one of the most important youth-serving organizations in the world. 

"This year, we are proud to launch the 'Make Every Sip Count' campaign with Family Dollar to enable young people in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, and responsible citizens."

Back in 2018, the goal of “Make Every Sip Count” was to raise $1 million dollars for the Boys & Girls Club. And Family Dollar and Dollar Tree contributed additional funds through customer, vendor, and company donations. 

Image credit: Coca Cola

In 2020, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree announced that they would be increasing their annual giving to $2 million dollars, including the “Make Every Sip Count” contribution. 

Funds this year are being used to support the Boys and Girls Club’s critical COVID-19 relief strategy of response, recovery and resilience for kids, families and communities.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis is one of 27 Clubs to receive a grant through the 'Make Every Sip Count' campaign. The Club is supporting kids in their community with virtual programming and camps, opening during the school day to support virtual school, and continuing to offer a safe place for kids and teens.

Takeaways for your sales promotion campaign during COVID: 

  • People are motivated by different things. Offer a variety of reward programs to ensure that you reach people effectively. And during the pandemic, people are highly motivated to help others. 
  • Associate your brand with a worthy and relevant cause. Consumers today want to know your brand’s values. 
  • Partnerships are still super effective for reaching more people with your promotion.

Conclusion

Sales promotions are critical right now.

To stand out in the minds of consumers, you have to make an impression and offer them something of value. 

And there are so many types of sales promotions to use as part of your overall marketing strategy. 

We hope these sales promotion examples by CPG brands inspire ideas for your own brand.