Free box/Facebook offer from Kruger represents social media-coupon play
The days of using only print, radio, and TV advertising to sell tissue paper and towels have been vastly extended now to marketing online on social media and mobile devices.
This month, Kruger Products launched White Cloud facial tissue, providing a free box to certain customers who garnered a Facebook coupon. The effort into May is at about 900 Walmarts across the USA.
Mobile coupons over the last year are available on a variety of tissue products, including from Georgia-Pacific (G-P) and Kimberly-Clark (K-C).
The social/mobile ad push comes as North American tissue paper producers battle brands vs private labels, and push to convince retail giants about their ultra/premium, higher-quality products made at potentially lower and lower costs. A number of capacity addition projects also have been added to the competitive landscape in the sector.
In all, the multi-million-dollar per year ad efforts by major tissue producers such as Procter & Gamble (P&G), K-C, and G-P take on a sharper, more sophisticated form aimed at attracting more shoppers.
“There’s kind of a race to the 22nd Century,” explained one official with a tissue company this week. “It’s an ‘all consumer goods’ phenomenon [not just in tissue]. It’s just new and emerging. It’s sort of like the Wild West.” Non-tissue consumer product companies such as Unilever, Quaker Oats, and Bayer Healthcare actively offer mobile coupons online or in texted versions that shoppers can charge to their store loyalty cards for the discount, in some cases.
US and Canadian tissue producers are extensively researching ways to integrate the social and online ad efforts with print and TV, including “micro-targeting.”
Eventually, as one official with a major US tissue paper producer noted, when entering a store a shopper’s mobile phone could alert them to a deal in that store, possibly with a coupon or discount, contacts said. This type of marketing must coincide with grocery or retail store promotions, contacts said.
“The technology exists [but] what’s going to be the right suite of offerings? And how many would sign up?” the tissue company official said.
That focus is on matching customers with appropriate deals without deluging them with information, contacts said.
Cool Touch marketing
Last year, K-C put out Kleenex Cool Touch facial tissue equipped with coolant to sooth sore noses. The Cool Touch launch included a TV commercial, print and online ads – and social media marketing.
For its potential to possibly reach more people than ever before, the multi-channel marketing of today is pivotal for branding, and larger and more definitive than the campaigns in 2004 for antiviral Kleenex and the 2004 Procter & Gamble Puffs Plus with Vicks scent, according to contacts.
K-C said in its recent year-end earnings call that it expected additional ad spending, on a percentage growth basis, would outpace sales growth in 2012.
In the facial tissue business in North America, private label’s share is nearing 25%, behind a 47% share for K-C’s Kleenex, and 25% for P&G’s Puffs’, the New York Times reported last September. Kruger’s White Cloud is a major private label at Walmart. Other major private label players, according to contacts, include G-P, based on its relationship with Costco, and Clearwater Paper, considered the largest private label supplier to US grocers with focus on Kroger and Safeway.
Nimble production with tech
Along with new marketing potential, tissue paper producers must remain nimble and fast in meeting demand requests from retailers and grocers, which are known to change gears on promotions, contacts said. For facial tissue in a carton, for example, producers now offer two-, three-, four-, six-, and eight-carton packs stacked in a single line wrapped in polyolefin. The most common are the three- and four-pack versions, the contacts said.
“There are a lot of possibilities [with new technology] and the trick is to find what makes the most sense for the customer,” said one of the tissue company officials, meshing the need to open new marketing streams including in social media with efficient, quick production capabilities.
News from RISI (www.risiinfo.com)
Kruger Products to cut 187 jobs
Kruger Products is to exit the parent roll sales market at its New Westminster, BC mill, a move that will reduce the site’s headcount by 187. The company said the move is in order to reinforce its core business of consumer and AfH tissue production and distribution.
As of 31 August 2012, the company will stop production lines related to this market, which it said “was no longer financially viable”. Mario Gosselin, chief operating officer, Kruger Products, said: “These changes will better position the mill for the future with more efficient, lower cost operations.
“In turn, it will allow Kruger Products to consolidate its leadership in the Canadian premium tissue market.”
The company added that while this will affect 187 positions at the mill, the move will not impact its consumer and AfH business. Approximately 400 staff will continue working at the New Westminster facility.
Kruger Products will ensure that affected employees receive appropriate support, the company said.
Kruger Products is a North American manufacturer of quality tissue products for household, industrial and commercial use.