December 11, 2017

Food & drink product launches matter more than new movies

Research announced today (Thursday 30 November) has shown that food and drink product launches are more sought-after by UK consumers than new movies, TV shows or music.

Nearly one in five people (18 per cent) say they’re most likely to be on the lookout for new food and drink brands – only technology launches are more keenly anticipated, by 19 per cent of consumers. By comparison, 12 per cent actively seek new movies and nine per cent new TV programmes.

Food and drink launches are also the most anticipated of all among those aged 53 and above, including Baby Boomers and Traditionalists.

The study was commissioned by launch marketing specialist agency Five by Five. Sales and marketing director James Roles comments: “New movies may get people talking on Twitter, but it seems what really matters to UK consumers is finding out about a new brand of biscuits or soft drink. The arrival of new food and drink products affects what we buy every week.”

The survey also found that in a world of digital and social media, TV is still the main medium by which consumers learn about new product launches.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of Brits say they first noticed new products when they appeared on television, far above the next-highest chosen options: only 12 per cent who spotted them on social media and nine per cent in online ads.

This could be awkward news for CMOs who have moved their budget into digital marketing at the expense of TV: Five by Five’s previous research back in 2016 found that three-quarters of brand marketers (74 per cent) now prioritise social media above TV advertising in their launch marketing plans.

However, these latest figures indicate that only one in eight people actually become aware of launches via social media, and just over one fifth (22 per cent) of them share the information online.

James Roles adds: “Shareable content and social buzz allow FMCG brands to generate pre-launch engagement in a way no other medium can hope to match. However, it seems many brands have been launching online with the product in mind and not the customer. A lot of people still rely on TV ads to learn about new food items and drinks they can buy.”

In addition, only three per cent believe celebrity endorsement makes launches stand out, with only one in 14 people (seven per cent) saying they actually noticed a launch because a celebrity or influencer mentioned it.

James Roles notes: “FMCG brands are using social media stars and celebrities now more than ever, and yet our research findings suggest that they are having limited impact on the success of a launch. My hunch is that there is rarely an authentic connection between the celebrity and the brand they are promoting.”

On social platforms, only one-quarter of consumers say would share branded content or information about a new product or service launch in return for a promotional offer, while less than one-quarter (23 per cent) would share branded content if they felt it met a friend or family member’s needs.

James Roles concludes: “The data is damning: with only one in four of us willing to share launch information on social media in exchange for a promotional offer, it’s clear that food and drink brands have to get smarter at creating stand out branded content.

“The use of celebrities, influencers or promotions, no matter how eye-catching, will not guarantee success. There remains no substitute to a simple and well-executed TV ad campaign when it comes to launching a new product or service.”

The full report contains analysis covering a wide range of sectors including automotive, fashion, gaming, FMCG and more. It can be downloaded here.