Category Snapshot: Mother & Baby

Category snapshot:

Mother and Baby Category

A notoriously busy and emotion driven category, brands have a huge opportunity to make their mark amongst mums who want reassurance they are buying the right product for their baby. Brands are pioneering a new generation of NPDs which play into the current ‘superfood’ trend. From Little Dish’s Go Go’s to new snack bars from Ella’s Kitchen, parents are now willing to pay more for good ingredients (Sales up 0.9% but volumes down by -4.6%). But which brands are executing their campaigns well at that crucial point of purchase?

retailer events and exclusive placements

Most retailers run some form of baby event or scheme in addition to their day to day trading. In Q1 we saw ASDA heavily promoting their ‘Lots for little tots’ event in association with Tommy Tippee. The event stood out in aisle and online and cleverly promoted strategic brands in money can’t buy locations and templates, which is a great win for any brand involved. However, brands need to consider that direct competitors could be live with their activity at the same time and so share of voice is going to be drastically cut and shared with direct competition. It is important therefore to ensure that as a brand you are getting your money’s worth.

the trouble with brand blocking

Not many brands took advantage of the shopper opportunities available to them and instead brands were very heavily reliant on brand blocking in aisle to get their messages across to the shopper. In an aisle which is extremely busy and colourful and all products look fairly similar, reliance on brand blocking is risky business! We know parents want reassurance that products are the best for their child. This key trigger cannot be delivered simply via brand blocking alone. Education is key and can be delivered on touchpoints away from aisle. It is also important to follow up with a prompt in aisle at that crucial point of purchase. Brands must take advantage of the opportunities available to them to win at shelf.

introducing Heinz baby biscuits…

One campaign which seemed to get it spot on this quarter was Heinz for the launch of their new NPD baby biscuits. The brand invested in licensing and leveraged popular children’s characters of the moment to offer shoppers an additional reason to buy their product now. Although potentially costly, Peppa Pig and Pet Patrol will have certainly helped to draw the eye of shoppers. Heinz ensured they communicated with parents throughout the shopper journey selecting media at relevant points online and in store to make sure the NPD wasn’t missed. The campaign creative was bright, eye catching and called out ‘New’ prominently to catch shoppers’ attention.

the Super Six: retailer comparison

When comparing the baby aisle in a similar timeframe in the Super Six a few observations can be made:

Heinz baby biscuits campaign and the ‘Lots for little tots’ event carried the biggest weight when comparing campaigns across the Super Six in Q1. These campaigns featured bright, exciting creative and numerous layers (offers, character endorsement etc), to give shoppers a clear reason to purchase. Pampers also featured activity cross retail securing some visually stimulating secondary space in the process. Aside from this, packs alone are not enough to create stand out and consideration as it seems the whole category is very colourful. Other strategies are needed including big campaigns like Heinz or even a volume driving strategy that some brands opted for, promoting ‘3 for 2’ or ‘5 for £7’ approach in order to keep the brand part of the shoppers’ preferred repertoire.

key learnings

  1. There’s a huge opportunity for brands to influence parents in their decision making through creating a connection with shoppers. Educating parents or highlighting key product benefits can help parents decide which brands to buy and it seems that outside the category event, many brands missed this opportunity.
  2. Online continues to outperform, with value growth of 8% driven by more shoppers buying their baby products online, and returning to this channel more often. With this as the case, baby brands need to ensure they invest a reasonable proportion of their budget in online media to ensure they don’t miss out on this hot opportunity.