I have always been intrigued by sampling as a part of marketing activity. 2 recent examples of sampling that I came across were quite innovative and unique to those respective categories.
The first is Zandu Pure Honey.
I got this sample pack from Big Basket, free with one our many orders (we order 2-3 times a week from Big Basket).
The pack itself looks very interesting and specific to a purpose – to prove that it is 100% pure honey with no added sugar. That Zandu is fighting a bitter war with Dabur and Patanjali is already known.
This sample and packaging, the wording etc. makes it almost look like a gold coin, complete with the promise of purity! I assume that is intentional.
The odd part is I don’t know if this will work in convincing me to buy Zandu Pure Honey next. Why? For one, I don’t have anything to compare it with. I try the sample. Then what? Am I also expected to taste any other honey on my own (at my home, perhaps)? And then what? Somehow decide one ‘seems’ better than the other? While buying gold, we simply go with trusting one brand over other based on the history of their existence, and how convincing their claims of purity is.
I tasted the sample. It was cloyingly sweet. What else did I expect? It’s honey, after all 🙂
If I were to validate the claims of Zandu, I’d perhaps Google, and also land on this Afaqs article which states that both Dabur and Zandu get samples tested from the same German ‘independent’ lab, and use the results to discredit each other!
Or, I’d go to the Zandu Pure Honey website that is helpfully listed in the sample pack. I’m not the average customer, but even I would first click on ‘Independent Test Summary’ on the top bar.
For some reason, not only is the most important section of the website broken, but it also points to another domain called ‘iyferr.com’, which in turns points to many links outside the domain.
I have no idea what is going on here and how a big brand like Zandu could so less about its digital foot print.
A more nuanced glance at the website shows that it is in a state of suspended animation.
The TVC embedded is from December 2016.
The Facebook page linked in the page has posts starting and ending in January 2016!
Ditto with the Twitter handle linked in the page.
But Twitter’s fate is far worse – the page links ‘zanuhoney’ as the Twitter handle, and that too wrongly on the top bar!
Wonder what Zandu’s digital agency does in the name of quality checks! I also wonder why and how they were engaged in the first place. Were they engaged and paid for just one month? It shows!
The sample pack also claims, “Buy now at Amazon, Big Basket and zandupurehoney.com”. While the first 2 outlets do sell the product, the 3rd is not an e-commerce store-front. When you click on ‘Buy now’, it simply takes you to a search-results page on Amazon! (This reminded me of my post from last week, on Indo Nissin’s website having similar search-results page from e-commerce stores).
So, bottomline: I really liked the sampling package and the thought. But the follow-up and backing to that effort is sorely lacking.
The 2nd product with an innovative sample is OMO. OMO is the equivalent of Surf Excel in many markets where Unilever sells it in a different name. The logo and tag line of both OMO and Surf Excel are similar – ‘Dirt is good’.
TBWA\RAAD (Dubai) created a tag made completely out of OMO detergent powder and tagged it along with clothes in a large store!
Just imagine the context of sampling – the detergent brand is literally tagged on the product it would be used on/for! This is wonderfully inventive and contextual.