Coles Little Shop has sent the sales of featured products including White King toilet cleaner, Daily Juice and Messy Monkeys snacks soaring by up to 50 per cent.
When it launched in mid-July, Coles marketed the purpose of the campaign as: “We are aiming to give our customers something fun – a miniature to collect and enjoy”.
But there is a reason why these brands paid to be featured in the Coles promotion.
While consumers have been busy collecting Little Shop miniature items, they have also been buying more of the products themselves off supermarket shelves and the brands behind the sponsored collectables are raking in the resulting boost in revenue.
It also gave Coles a competitive advantage in the supermarket wars, with its rival Woolworths blaming a “competitor’s program” in part for hurting its sales.
White King confirmed to The New Daily it recorded a massive 50 per cent jump in sales compared to this time last year, while The Daily Juice Company’s orange juice sales rose by 15 per cent.
Freedom Foods also confirmed an increase in purchases of Messy Monkeys but would not specify a percentage.
Nestle – which owns brands Milo, Purina Supercoat, Maggi chicken noodle cup and Nescafe, all of which feature in Little Shop – did not deny it had seen an increase in sales.
But a spokeswoman said its sales were in line with the company’s forecast.
“We’ve had a wide range of marketing and promotional activity for brands across our range,” she said.
Procter & Gamble would not disclose Vicks VapoRub’s sales data, saying it was “commercially sensitive”. Dettol, Lipton and Cold Power also declined to comment.
The Little Shop campaign – which launched in mid-July and ended on September 11 after an extension due to the promotion’s success – appears to be far from over as enthused customers continue to advertise and swap various miniature branded collectables online.
Within two weeks of the campaign’s launch, some consumers were selling the complete set of 30 collectables in a display case on eBay for up to $1000.
When contacted by The New Daily, Coles did not rule out the chance of re-launching Little Shop in the future, potentially with a different range of brands.
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” a Coles spokesman said.
Leading retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer said that given the promotion’s success, it was not unreasonable to expect the supermarket will run the campign again, potentially on an annual basis using different brands.
“It has been a huge success,” he said.
“While Coles received backlash in relation to the timing of the campaign with the removal of plastic bags, it has created significant media attention and social media attention.
“It’s been two months since the campaign launched and we’re still talking about it. It was absolutely a worthy investment.”
Dr Mortimer said a 50 per cent increase in sales is a challenging objective to meet without reducing the price of your product.
“To achieve this without having to drop your prices is significant for both Coles and the brand,” he said.
“One of the challenges with grocery products is that they’re habitual purchases, especially things like toilet cleaner.
“We’re all familiar with the brands in Little Shop and now when we go to the supermarket where all of these brands are competing for our attention, it makes these brands salient.
“It’s like when we’re looking to buy a particular model of a car. We suddenly start seeing it on the road more because it’s at the top of our mind.”
The New Daily contacted all brands featured in Little Shop but those not quoted did not respond by deadline.