The shortfalls of matching luggage

colgate_nasties_detailMany will have heard the term ‘matching luggage’.

In a promotional context, it means that every touchpoint the shopper sees, whether pre-store or instore, is executed with an identical message and creative (usually based around a TV commercial).

But how effective is this really? At the least, it’s missing a number of opportunities.

To begin with, there’s the changing size and format of the individual touchpoint.

We’ve all seen poorly executed bus shelter and billboard advertising where TV creative is plastered straight onto signs without consideration for big lettering somewhere in the middle of the ad, not just at the bottom.

The same applies to instore point of sale (POS) advertising. What looks good on a bus shelter isn’t going to work on a shelf wobbler 1/20th of the size.

It’s important to consider the balance of images and words, and the number and size of words. The right mix should change between mediums according to how and where it will be seen, eg. a large hanging sign or a small aisle fin.

The messages used should also change depending on the point of contact with the shopper. For instance, instore is about conversion. The baseline thinking is “the closer to the shelf, the stronger the call to action”.

Pre-store touchpoints, on the other hand, are more about getting a brand into the shopper’s consideration set, or answering a consumer need, say, via a TV ad or experiential installation.

When it comes to shopper marketing, these two different messages should be calibrated. They should differ across touchpoints based on the stage of the purchase cycle.

The luggage shouldn’t necessarily match, but it should look like it came from the same store. There should be a common platform, but the sub-messages and calls to action underneath it could vary.

A good example of this is Colgate’s Invisible Nasties campaign from a few years ago.

Colgate created TV creative that flowed into instore and post-store activity. The relationship between all three of these mediums is where it gets interesting.


The initial pre-store tagline, “Who else has been using your toothbrush?”, complete with cartoon germ imagery, talks to the consumer need to avoid bacteria by changing their toothbrush more frequently.

Once they arrived instore, the shopper was given three different campaign facets, all also under the “Who else…?” tagline.

Colgate sold toothbrush packs featuring these different germ characters, along with the call to action to “change your toothbrush now”.

In tandem with this, a cashback was offered on shelf wobblers and brochure holders, and value packs were displayed at the end of supermarket aisles.

This was supported online with a website and microsite for the instore cashback offer, as well as daily prize draws.

Lastly, there was a neat post-store follow up mechanic. The shoppers who redeemed a cashback offer or entered prize draws were emailed a reminder three months later to, you guessed it, change their dirty toothbrush.

Each of these calls to action created basket incidence, and were aimed at increasing category purchase frequency. The campaign was clever in turning a consumption need (or fear) into a set of reasons to buy.

The luggage didn’t match perfectly, but the cases got filled. And the lesson is that there’s no point matching your luggage, if you can’t fill them with shopping on your trip.

Norrell Goldring is head of shopper insight and retail strategy at global consumer research and retail datahouse, GfK. She has 12 years experience in shopper research and has worked in category and channel planning for Coca-Cola, Goodman Fielder, and Vodafone. Contact her on 0437 335 686 or

This story is part of Inside Retails new shopper marketing newsbrief, Inside Shopper. Click here to subscribe.


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