Give Israelis What They Want: Free Stuff

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Israelis love receiving presents, worship the word “free,” and long for the exhilarating feeling of knowing that we’ve won something others haven’t. We always point out to our clients that Israelis are hungry, thirsty, and wild for prizes.

Price reductions, meanwhile, don’t work well in Israel. (Recent research shows that only discounts of at least 30% will motivate Israelis to purchase.) The most prominent and successful programs are the ones that offer consumers prizes and presents. The more varied the prizes, the better.

Over the past two summers, Coca-Cola has run an under-the-cap promo using air mattresses, beach towels, stereo systems, and other big-ticket items as prizes. The jackpot has included a trip for the winner and two friends to various destinations around the world, complete with pocket money for expenses.

Coke’s sales have increased and the program has managed to generate a cap hysteria that has led to a massive collection of caps by consumers hoping to find big prizes under their caps.

Coke competitor R.C. Cola tried to imitate the program with an instant-win, under-the-cap money prize (The jackpot was $65,000!), and though the campaign generated consumer interest, it didn’t do as well as the Coke program. The prize pool wasn’t varied enough and chances to win were quite slim.

Record sales

When the guys from Hed-Arzi (Israel’s largest record company) asked us to promote its Hit Man CD, we were faced with some real challenges. Hit Man, a compilation of hit songs produced annually for the past nine summers, has consistently exceeded sales records over each preceding release. In fact, one year it even earned the title of best album of the year. Hed-Arzi has gambled on predicting the greatest hits of each year, including them on the CD, and then has laughed all the way to the bank.

So when they asked us to develop a promotion concept for Hit Man 9, we needed to answer the question, “What can we possibly do to promote the best-selling album of the year?”

You guessed it. Prizes. Prizes would motivate people to buy the CDs. We just had to figure out how to make it happen.

Pretty quickly we got to the big idea – record the prizes on the CD “in” one of the songs. True, the idea of a recorded prize wasn’t new. A local burger chain gave away paper records with the restaurants’ jingle six years ago. You learned you had won by listening to the entire record. Our gimmick was that people had to buy the CD and listen to the whole thing to find out if they had won.

We contacted several leading companies and offered them the following deal: exposure during the ad campaign (media and on the CD itself) in exchange for prize-funding. It didn’t take us long to get the prizes, which included home cinema theaters, motorcycles, flights abroad, watches, and CDs. But we knew something was still missing. We lacked the magic words, “Everyone Wins.”

We turned to Domino’s Pizza, Israel’s largest takeout chain, and got the company to provide coupons attached to each CD. Listeners received free toppings, drinks, and desserts.

The program was supported with a TV ad campaign (produced by the ad agency), newspaper ads, and POS materials. All the players won: Hed-Arzi got a unique campaign with valuable prizes via a barter deal; the promotion partners received major exposure in the media; and Israeli consumers got what they love most – prizes, and lots of them!


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