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CPG Couponing Evolution: Then vs Now

In the early 1900s, as C.W. Post witnessed the success of Coke's innovative couponing strategy, he recognized an untapped opportunity in the world of shopper marketing. Fast forward to today, and if you've ever enjoyed a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, you've savored the fruits of Post's groundbreaking marketing efforts.



Post was a visionary marketer ahead of his time, understanding the pivotal role of market penetration. Within a decade of its launch, his company was investing a staggering $400,000 annually in marketing—a figure unheard of in the CPG landscape of that era.


Inspired by Coke's promotional triumphs, Post decided to embark on a couponing journey of his own. However, instead of offering free products, he introduced a revolutionary concept: a $0.01 discount. In today's economy, this would be similar to a $1 discount off a $9 MSRP.


The results were nothing short of electric. Post not only witnessed success but also intensified his commitment to this strategy, expanding promotional efforts. This move not only solidified his brand's position but also opened doors for other brands to enter the game.


In the early days when only Coke was employing such promotional tactics, it felt like a brand-specific strategy. However, with Post's entrance into the arena, it transformed into an industry-wide opportunity.


Now, in the dynamic world of CPG and shopper marketing, the question lingers: Do you prefer being a first-mover, pioneering new tools, or a second-mover, strategically entering a space once it's established?


As we reflect on Post's journey, we see that innovation in shopper marketing has always been a catalyst for industry-wide transformation. Whether you're pioneering or strategically following suit, the key is staying attuned to the evolving landscape and leveraging tools that resonate with the modern consumer.


What are your thoughts on this historical marketing saga? Would you rather be at the forefront of innovation or strategically adopt proven tools?


Share your insights and let the conversation begin!


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