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News 20 Sep 2021 - 3 min read

CUB tells retailer media operators not to expect ad dollars automatically

By Sam Buckingham-Jones - Senior Writer

"If it simply becomes a transaction, it's less compelling": CUB's Carly Maher seeks smarter media approach. The Pistol's Troy Townsend eyes more growth.

Carlton & United Breweries has told emerging retailer media operators it is less likely to work with those that just hand it a list of prices. But transparent, collaborative retailers that help suppliers optimise results are likely to take a greater share of the drinks giant's ad dollars.


What you need to know:

  • Carlton & United Breweries says retailers pushing into selling media should avoid a “pay to play” model of serving ads.
  • CUB's Digital Marketing Manager Carly Maher said the drinks giant seeks collaborative, transparent partnerships.
  • CUB has long worked with the major supermarkets but the brewer is now seeing an influx of smaller retailers entering the media market.
  • Marketing software platform The Pistol said more retailers will follow – but they need to get more sophisticated in measuring performance versus competitors.

We’re starting to see this play out across smaller liquor retailers due to the impact Covid has had on shopper and consumer behaviour.

Carly Maher, Digital Marketing Manager, CUB

Show us the data 

Carlton and United Breweries says retailers building media operations should not just hand it a price list and expect ad dollars.

But Carly Maher, CUB’s Digital Marketing Manager, said the drinks giant will work with retailers that take a transparent and collaborative approach.

CUB established its own in-house agency in 2017. It has both creative and media capability within a 35-strong team.

“Before we decide to engage with a retailer-owned media network, we look at trying to drive transparency and visibility,” said Maher. 

“If we’re going to be paying to play, how do we get a better understanding of who we’re targeting? A better understanding of what retailer shopper behaviour is? An understanding of how we can optimise and deliver the right message to their shoppers?

“If we get things like that back, I’m all for it. If it simply becomes a transaction, it starts to become a little less compelling as it starts to shift away from a partnership where we are growing together.”

Retailer media is forecast to make up a $1 billion market before 2025 in Australia. Maher said she is seeing a growing number of retailers building media operations – and not just the big chains.

“We’re starting to see this play out across smaller liquor retailers due to the impact Covid has had on shopper and consumer behaviour,” Maher said.

She indicated those retailers that work collaboratively with CUB will get a greater share of its digital ad budgets.

“At the end of the day, digital marketing is just another way to drive awareness and help influence purchase intent across a shopper’s path to purchase, whether that purchase is made online or off,” Maher said. “It’s about using our customers’ networks to help ensure it’s our brands, and not those of our competitors, that shoppers are buying.”

Gunning for retailer media

CUB uses software from The Pistol to access inventory from retailers like Liquor Marketing Group, the owner of 1,400 independent stores including the Bottlemart, Sip’n Save and Harry Brown brands.

The platform enables brands to place their own – or co-fund – campaigns with retailers on platforms like Facebook that link to the retailer's website to sell specific items. CUB can place a series of targeted Facebook ads for 4 Pines Beer, for example, but link to Bottlemart's website. It effectively allows a retailer to monetise its Facebook presence, as well as other social and digital platforms – and clip the ticket on the way through. 

“Our goal is to turn retail media into performance media,” said Troy Townsend, Executive Director at The Pistol.

“When [retailers] open this up to their own website, their margin is 95 per cent. Most of them are only working on their top 20 biggest spenders, the size of their teams are so small – they can only do so much because it’s all manual. With technology, you’re taking out the need for a full-time employee to do it manually.”

Unlike a retailer-specific shop like Woolworths’ Cartology, The Pistol said it will have a built-in view of how successful media campaigns are across different retailers. It will be able to automate those lessons about what works for suppliers and retailers. 

“We’re going to get to the point where we’re doing the media mix modelling of placement. We’ll automatically create those campaigns based on objectives, cross channel,” said Townsend.

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