Technology is always evolving and consumers are now far more sophisticated, but one thing will never change in the supermarket aisle. People LOVE free stuff.
This comic book ad from the late 1970s encapsulates the brand premium craze that’s been going on for decades and is still going strong. Customers save wrappers, boxtops or UPC codes for proof of purchase and mail them to a redemption center for prizes. Part of the fun is the saving up for and anticipation of getting the reward.
These radio-controlled Batmobiles and Spider-Man cars were only available to fans who collected 12 Holloway or Clark candy wrappers. Holloway was the Chicago company that made Milk Duds famous in the 1920s. (Milk Duds is now owned by Hershey’s.)
This promotion kept driving super-motivated kids to their local convenience stores or supermarkets to get more candy bars. I would imagine that many of those wrapper-stuffed envelopes were smeared with melted chocolate.
Plenty of brands are still asking their customers to mail in proofs of purchase for premium rewards. However, today’s mobile-centric consumer demands instant gratification. Why SHOULD they wait 6-8 weeks if they don’t have to?
Based on the recent experience of two candy brands, image recognition technology is proving itself to be a shopper marketing game changer.