Why Is My Sunday Times Wrapped In Kitchen Paper?

photo of Sunday Times wrapped in advertising cover for Chanel's marketing

The Sunday Times is good at marketing.  After all, it is the premium Sunday newspaper.  Yet when I picked it up from the newsagent's shelf today I found it wrapped in what looks at first glance to be the sort of grease-proof paper my mother used in the kitchen.

Closer examination shows that this is no cheap piece of wrapping but a robust cover overprinted with outlines of perfume bottles and the word 'Chanel'.  So this is really a Chanel marketing campaign.

So what is going on here? There's no marketing messages, no glossy imagery?  This seems to be a very downmarket approach to advertising a high end product.  Or is it?​

​Advertising in the print media is never a cheap option.  So Chanel must think they are getting their money's worth.  So what are they achieving?

Target Marketing To A Niche Market​

The Sunday Times is not cheap at £2.50 though you do, of course, get a good deal of reading for your money.  Mine usually lasts me through most of the week!  

So Chanel will know that their campaign is going to be seen by every buyer of the newspaper, all of whom probably have disposable income to spend on the high value/designer label product that Chanel is marketing.  No other newspaper carried this cover - they have targeted their niche market.

A Call To Action​

But there isn't one!  Nothing to tell their prospects what Chanel wants them to do next.

However, this campaign took place on Sunday, 11 December.  I would guess that Chanel's marketers have carefully selected the optimum date before Christmas to put 2 ideas into their prospects heads:

  1. The brand they want prospects to buy - Chanel
  2. The idea for a gift when their prospects are struggling for inspiration - perfume

It's easy to say: 'Of course, everyone knows about perfume as a present'.  But everyone also needs reminding.  Being 'top of mind' at this critical moment is Chanel's objective.

The overprint on that semi-transparent paper communicates everything that Chanel want to put into our heads.  

The repeated image of a perfume bottle and the word: Chanel.

No Call To Action necessary!

close-up image of Chanel perfume bottle overprint

A perfume bottle and the brand name - who needs more of a reminder?

Social Proof

Why use the semi transparent paper?  It's sort of confusing because the Sunday Times newspaper clearly shows through and this must confuse the message?

In practice, this is of benefit both to Chanel and to the newspaper.  The Sunday Times maintains its visible presence on the news stands so that their buyers are not put off by having to check what they are buying.

Chanel benefit from an implicit endorsement by the Sunday Times.  It tells people that Chanel is the sort of product that people who buy the Sunday Times also buy.  They feel comfortable in the same way that when they see their friends sharing on social media that they have bought a product. 

Not So Daft​

So maybe the kitchen paper is not so daft after all.

Chanel are:

  • reaching a closely targeted market
  • at a prime buying time
  • delivering a single, concise message
  • with social proof.

Excuse me, I've just remembered I've got some presents to buy...

Bruce Bird

Bruce is an Internet Business Consultant and specialises in Local Search Marketing i.e. ensuring that local, off-line businesses get found online by their local prospects who are most likely to become their customers.

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