Mass advertising is dying. Experienced consumers couldn’t care less about commercials, ads, banners and other fancy wording and imagery that is forced upon them, so let’s move on to more interesting ways of igniting conversations between corporations and consumers.
Sure, much has already been said about search-based advertising and initiating word of mouth as new (and certainly more relevant) ways to replace mass advertising, but TRENDWATCHING.COM wants to add a third alternative: TRYVERTISING, which is all about consumers becoming familiar with new products by actually trying them out.
Think of TRYVERTISING as a new breed of product placement* in the real world, integrating your goods and services into daily life in a relevant way, so that consumers can make up their minds based on their experience, not your messages.
* Mind you, this is not about increasingly sophisticated product placement in movies, TV series or games; no doubt an improvement on intrusive commercials, but it’s still based on advertising, not TRYVERTISING. Also, to prevent this newsletter becoming more voluminous than the old testament, we will primarily focus on direct TRYVERTISING, i.e. activities aimed directly at end users, as opposed to indirect, viral campaigns aimed at getting celebs or influencers to try out (and talk about) new products and brands: we’ll save Star Jones, The Donald, Hillary Swank and Josh Rubin for the inevitable update 😉
So what does TRYVERTISING incorporate? Think ‘obvious’ activities like handing out product samples, and more subtle, integrated product placements that are part of an experience or solution. It’s everything from new-style sachets containing single servings of liquid products, to hotels partnering with luxury carmakers to offer high end model test drives to guests during their stay.
First, a bit more about the ‘old’ TRYVERTISING that we’re all familiar with: think free shampoo samples in magazines, or a point of sale promotion stand in a supermarket. The challenge here has always been a certain lack of relevance: there’s no guarantee samples are tried out at the right time, in the right spot, and by the right target audience.
One clever solution to this distribution dilemma: Tremor, P&G’s gargantuan TRYVERTISING project. In only two years time, this focus group cum sample/coupon dispersing network signed up 280,000 US (!) teens, ages 13 to 19, who actively promote new products to their peers, and may be asked to place coupons and product samples in living rooms, schools and any other relevant location. Next? Tremor Moms, of course!
Another distribution shift within the world of old-school TRYVERTISING: websites that enable consumers to actively get their hands on free stuff: see TheFreeSite.com, www.startsampling.com, www.freechannel.net, www.freebielist.com, www.freebiesplanet.com, www.gratis.nl, www.alles-kostenlos.de, www.yes-its-free.com and so on. Here too, the opportunity to disperse samples to a slightly more relevant audience (based on recipients’ profiles) is tempting, though the current emphasis on ‘free’ may limit diversity within the try-out audience.
So what about more targeted, more relevant new-style TRYVERTISING? Product placements that become part of the landscape, part of the real world where consumers hang out and certainly don’t mind trying something as long as it makes sense to them? Check out the following TRYVERTISERS, and how they’re integrating their wares into (semi) public domains like bars/cafes, waiting rooms, events, universities and hotels.