Grown ups go free…

I was in the supermarket panic buying essentials such as Jaffa Cakes and Custard Creams the other day when my eye was taken by the Kellogg’s Cornflakes.  I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing – an offer for adults to go free to Alton Towers, Sea Life or Legoland, worth up to £58.  There didn’t even appear to be any great qualifying criteria either.

I couldn’t help thinking back to my own childhood when if you consumed 25 boxes of Rice Crispies in a three month period you got one child place free to a ruined castle or somewhere you had never even heard of. How things have changed.

It’s the power of peer group marketing.  Big brands now aim squarely at children and incentivise them to put pressure on their parents to buy what appeals to them, and a free place for mum or dad makes it that much easier for them to get a great day out (pre or post pandemic, obviously).  Certain of the fast-food chains have been Mcmasters of this for years, and now other brands are following the same path.

Of course back in the day we could never ate enough boxes of cereal to get anything for free…it was impossible, though the secondary prize of a tiny model of a Red Indian’s head (rightly Native American Indians now) or a Zulu was something to fight over at the breakfast table, always buried at the bottom of the packet but ultimately disappointing if you did get there first.

My interest in Geronimo certainly peaked after I found him at the bottom of the Sugar Puffs.

You might remember in the series The Good Life, Tom’s job (Richard Briers) before he gave it all up to live off the land was to design these items for cereal packets.

Peer group marketing is without doubt here to stay, though it’s less likely to be a factor in our industry.  I can’t imagine too many youngsters demanding a new AluClad Top swing window for their bedroom when the parents are planning simple casements, but fingers crossed, that would certainly get order values up.

But it’s another thing for marketers to be aware of and adjust to as we increasingly realise the only thing that’s certain is that change is constant.

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