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Sales promotion is a vital requisite of the promotional mix, a pivotal way for businesses to retain and attain customers.

Consumer trade promotions are communicated in various ways, in an attempt to stimulate product interest. An example of the mechanics used in sales promotions is coupons, premiums, rebates, display and contests. Within competitive markets, companies are forever using sales promotions as a way to differentiate from their rivals. Let’s take a look at the 5 Willy Wonka’s of sales promotions.


This worldwide leader is innovating the way brands use sales promotions. The giant had a rare failing against Pepsi’s Challenge taste test in the 80’s. However, it has since lead the way for sales promotions via the Cokeauction, Coke Rewards and many other innovative promotions. When other brands crowded online promotions they then reintroduced its free glasses, pushing for a more traditional approach.



The innovator of fast food marketing changed the rules by ‘satisfrying’ entire families through the revolutionary Happy Meals. With its clever “collect all four” of the latest toys with a movie tie-in, it transformed what was a weekly treat into a must for children. McDonald’s do not purely target children, promotions are offered to a family with their Blockbuster prize promotions with strong relations to World Cup sponsorship. McDonald’s most renowned promotion is the McDonald’s Monopoly which offers millions of prizes to the public, helping them remain the ‘Big Mac’ of sales promotions.



The king of crisps is a major player in the snack industry. This regional name has become the biggest impulse brand in the UK through ingenious sales promotions such as “Do us a Flavour” and “Free book for Schools”. The world-shattering brand has profited from the exposure of Gary Lineker, making him more recognisable for his part in Walkers than his international football career. These innovative campaigns have booked Walkers space in all retail channels around the world, overwhelming their competitors.



The colossal breakfast-cereal company leads an industry which uses promotion to add value to their competitors. The lord of retail cereal has fed generations for years, on Frosties and Corn Flakes, with children scouring packs for prizes in the pack and on the box. This super brand dominates the competition, in what is regarded as a capricious market, by having innovative promotions that entice the market. This has ranged from collectable bowls, free swimming trips to MTV prizes.



If Mr Wonka existed you’d imagine he works at the world of Cadbury’s, with their ever-changing, magical, fantastic chocolate. However, the magic of the brand does not solely rely on taste, they have mastered every aspect of marketing and their magical sales promotions have made chocolate even more appealing! Cadbury’s often competes on taste with big players such as Mars but often steamrolls competitors with their fantastic sales promotions. Past activities have seen text and win competitions attractive POS and partnerships with Coronation Street. One memorable promotion was the Egg treasure hunt, driving thousands of consumers scouring the country for the elusive gold eggs, making the case for Willy Wonka even stronger!


5 leaders in their own markets who constantly use sales promotions to attract and attain new clients through adding value for their customers. Not only does it grow their bottom line but it makes the tangible, intangible through building memories and relationships with consumers, something that cannot be replaced.

See our Mando’s and Mandon’ts of sales promotion, to get more advice on how to make a successful promotion.