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Why ‘tryvertising’ wins over consumers

01 Jun, 2020 Marketing communication

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been completely updated in 2020.

Experienced consumers switch off or even get angry about the commercials, ads, banners and pop-ups foisted on them. An innovative alternative way to reach consumers is to use tryvertising – a cross between advertising, product promotion and marketing communication. Tryvertising essentially takes product placement to the real world, integrating products into the daily life of consumers so they can make up their minds based on their actual experience with a product – and can tell others what they think of it, or even give a testimonial about the product.

Social media are an ideal channel for consumers who are given the opportunity to demo a product to tell others about it within their communities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Research has found that just being selected as a product tester didn’t necessarily mean a user will buy, but the increased number of conversations about the product ensure more potential buyers become aware of it. These initiatives, and social media campaigns in general, are likely to be good ways to improve the success of product launches because they create increased social interactions.

Product placement

Product placement is a common technique to create more exposure for products by placing them within view or in use in film and television scenes or in plays. In a more general sense, product placement can comprise the giving away of samples in letterboxes, magazines and supermarkets. But there is no guarantee that these products are seen or tried out at the right time, in the right place and by the right target audience.

Tryvertising targets end users directly

Tryvertising is more effective because it directly targets end users, in contrast to indirect, viral campaigns in which celebrities or influencers trial new products and then talk to others about them.

Tryvertising comprises activities that are a natural fit with consumers. And when the consumer actually tries the product, their experience is much stronger than just hearing about it or seeing someone else use it in the media. The examples below relate to well-known brands, but you could just as easily apply the concept to your own situation. The examples could help to stimulate your ideas on ways to team up with others to capitalize on tryvertising:

  • Car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Mini Cooper partner with luxury hotels to offer guests the use of a car with unlimited mileage during their stay; a full tank of petrol each morning and overnight valet parking. According to Ritz Carlton Hotels, dozens of guests have bought a new car based on these integrated test-drives.
  • Furniture deals are also popular with hotels. In Germany, 60 Etap budget hotels are furnished with an IKEA room and a public quiet space, also furnished by IKEA, for guests to visit and try out.
  • Nike‘s Runner Lounge in Vancouver can be used by runners preparing for the annual Vancouver half marathon to rendezvous for a run, get free massages, drinks and snacks and perhaps most significantly, test-drive Nike running shoes.
  • At a Sundance Film Festival, Starbucks sent employees along Main Street with brewing coffee kegs. Hewlett Packard had a photo bar at their Main Street lounge where cameras and printers were set up for visitors to be photographed against a selection of faux Sundance backgrounds. VW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac showcased their newest models by offering a free shuttle service for festival VIPs to the Sundance screenings and parties around town.
  • Senseo Coffee Machines installed coffee machines at a number of Dutch bus and tram stops, offering waiting passengers a cup of freshly brewed coffee. This is much more relevant to consumers than a billboard trying to show the aromas.
  • As part of a bid to reduce sexually transmitted diseases, 300 taxi drivers in Sussex, England handed out free Trojan condoms in discreet black envelopes to passengers who seemed likely. Due to the campaign’s success, Trojan planned to roll out the campaign nationally. They’re also considering targeting holiday-makers.
  • Gillette distributed their new Brush-Ups teeth wipes for several months to KLM Airlines passengers after their in-flight meals.
  • Sony launched a new range of DVD handy-cams, teaming up with London Zoo for 11 days in summer to offer consumers the chance to borrow DVD handy-cams for one hour, free of charge. After a two-minute demonstration, families were free to roam the zoo and record all their favorite family moments. Participants could keep their DVD with pre-recorded product and purchase details.
  • Kodak and Hyatt encouraged vacationing family photographers to try out EasyShare, the world’s first wi-fi consumer digital camera, at 13 US Hyatt properties. The promotion continued to the end of the year to coincide with the holiday travel season.
  • For more than two years, Canon invited anyone in the European Union to upload a digital picture to their website, pick a Canon printer they would like to try out, and fill in their address; a real photo print would then arrive in the mail the following day. Canon-owned online photo service Fotango processed and delivered. Due to ongoing success, the service was expanded.
  • US appliance manufacturer Maytag asked consumers to test products before buying. Try-out stores, owned by independent dealers, display Maytag merchandise in sample kitchens and laundry rooms. Potential buyers of washers and dryers could do a load of laundry, bake a sheet of cookies, or listen to a dishwasher in action to see whether it really was quiet. Maytag said the “try-before-you-buy” concept was working well and planned to extend the concept to 60 Maytag stores.

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About the author Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in the eBooks available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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