How FMCG brands can embrace the entertainment playbook | Clear Channel

From Screens to Shelves: How FMCG brands can embrace the entertainment playbook

16 Feb 2024 / Insights
By Clear Channel UK View Author on Twitter

Seeking inspiration beyond your direct competition can often yield valuable insights. Both FMCG and Ents brands share similar challenges, and Out of Home has consistently been a lead channel for both. By looking at how Ents brands navigate this space, FMCG marketers can glean practical ideas to enhance their strategies, or simply elevate their next campaign. Grab the popcorn…

By Colin Horan Strategic Partner, FMCG

The media and marketing industry is forever on the lookout for fresh inspiration to help spark ideas for future campaigns.  Whilst many of us embrace the idea of a media first, often the reality of knowing it's been done before is a much safer bet.  There's no harm in taking this approach, but it can often be useful to seek inspiration from beyond your direct competition and to look outside of your specific category. 

Following a conversation over coffee with our Entertainment lead (Rich Caddy), it became apparent that brands across both the FMCG and Ents categories share a number of similarities in the challenges they face.  Out of Home has consistently been a lead channel for both sets of brands over many years, so by taking a deep dive into how Ents brands are using the channel, it can provide useful inspiration for FMCG marketers who may be looking for new ways to achieve their objectives, or simply elevate the next campaign. 

The Big Launch:  Roll out the red carpet for your NPD 

Product innovation plays a crucial role in the FMCG category, with NPD allowing brands to stay relevant in an ever-evolving market, recruit new consumers and sustain growth.  We can draw parallels with the importance of the NPD launch stage with a blockbuster cinema release.  Having invested millions in the production, a film’s long-term commercial success often comes down to its opening weekend at the box office.  A positive start can attract significantly more viewing interest, and lead to an increased commitment from the cinema chains who’ll add extra screenings and agree to a longer run (a similar benefit to negotiating distribution and shelf-space) and will ultimately lead to more sales.  Therefore, marketing a blockbuster release means reaching as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, and in a manner that drives and instant burst of fame and creates a ‘must-see’ feeling with the audience. 

This is why Out of Home has consistently remained a lead channel for the major film distributors.  With the ability to reach 97% of all UK adults across two weeks, it’s the ideal platform to deliver a sharp spike of awareness in the lead up to the all-important opening weekend. 

But it’s how the film brands use Out of Home that should be of interest to FMCG marketers considering their next product launch.  Plans designed to deliver huge reach, often using roadside formats, are supplemented with the use of iconic large format sites and bespoke special builds, creating attention grabbing engagements that create a sense that a film is a cultural moment not to be missed.  64% say that large format OOH ads help brands stand out, and as many as 75% believe it makes them feel more confident in making a purchase, so there’s distinct advantage to delivering a multi-format campaign that combines the benefits of broadcast reach with high-impact premium formats. 

On Screen Menu:  The what’s on guide to tonight’s dinner. 

It’ll come as no surprise to learn that a huge proportion of brits don’t plan their evening meals in advance.  In fact, a recent study by Clear Channel suggests that as many as 1 in 4 people will look to buy what they need for dinner on their way home from work.   

Deciding on what to cook can be a challenge.  With an endless menu of options available, we seek inspiration in the hope to simplify the process and find a solution that will satisfy our needs in that moment.   It’s very much like choosing what to watch on TV, and when you consider that 54% of brits admit to watching the box while eating their evening meal it’s an occasion that makes for suitable comparison. 

Following the decline of the traditional printed listings, Digital Out of Home is often described as ‘The New TV guide’, with its flexibility enabling TV and Streaming brands to serve their daily recommended viewing to broadcast audiences on their commute home.  Campaigns can often feature multiple shows, each given their moment to shine on the most relevant day of week in the build-up to when it airs. 

The ‘appointment to view’ approach will drive increased audiences in the short term, but there’s a brand building opportunity too.  Across 2023, Channel 5 used daily copy changes to promote their big show of the day.  In doing so, they were able to showcase the great variety of content available on their My5 platform throughout the campaign period, rather than feeling obliged to cram multiple products into one message. 

Grocery brands can take a similar approach (and many do), planning smartly to connect the evening commute with the supermarket or local convenience store.  With 84% of consumers choosing to commute by car, bike or on foot, roadside OOH becomes a sensible choice to stay top of mind or provide helpful recipe inspiration to align with consumer mood and mindset.  

And in understanding that our purchase intent varies depending on the day (e.g. 41% say they eat healthier at the beginning of the week) a Monday message can be different to one displayed at the weekend to reflect the change of mindset.  A study by QMS proved that evolving digital OOH creative over a number of days can increases memory encoding by as much as 38%, so it makes sense for FMCG brands to use this approach as an opportunity to show their range or to align to various food occasions.   

Casting The Lead:  Scripting a starring role for the Masterbrand. 

FMCG marketers are often faced with the challenge of balancing their single brand or product message with that of the Masterbrand, and it’s a similar story for the Entertainment category, and particularly the subscription streaming services.  There is now a plethora of streaming services available to consumers, with each battling to grow their share in what has become a very competitive market.   

The big hook for attracting new audiences is often down to the quality of their content, so this naturally becomes the lead for any comms, typically around a flagship film release or when launching the latest season of a popular show.   

With each show having their own look and feel, it’s crucial to maintain some creative consistency so that all content led messaging links back to the master brand and to create the connection that their platform is worthy of the monthly fee. 

Disney+'s approach is a great example of how we commonly see this play out.  When promoting any new show, they commit around 20% of their creative to the master brand, using a consistent framework which ensures they have a distinctive asset present.  Our recent ‘Powerful Posters’ research revealed that brand recall can double when the OOH creative is fluently processed, so that link back to the brand is essential. 

And in addition to an abundance of product led messaging, the streaming category also looks to Out of Home when focused solely on building the master brand.  Showcasing their content offering or communicating what their brand stands for across huge high-attention sites will drive increased awareness but also add some much-needed personality and distinctiveness to their brand. 

With the modern consumer now more likely to buy from brands they trust, or those that reflect their values, FMCG’s can take a similar approach in Out of Home, which as a public broadcast medium is considered to be 72% more trustworthy when compared to private media channels like social.  Dialling up the power of the Masterbrand could drive increased penetration across the brand portfolio, or help supercharge the next NPD launch. 

Sources: Route, Researchbods 2022, Taluna 2024, QMS Australia, 2021, Powerful Posters, Clear Channel and Gorilla in the Room, 2022, Moment for Trust – Clear Channel & JCD

If you’re planning a campaign, or just interested in discovering more on how your brand can get the most from Out of Home this year, please get in touch.