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Will guerrilla tactics work?

Published:  15 December, 2008

People haven't started queuing up outside shops and off-licences just yet for the latest eye-grabbing deal, but all those behind the daily burst of drinks promotions must wish they would.

December has always been the month when your doormat is as likely to be covered in as many flyers for the latest supermarket offer as it is the daily batch of Christmas cards, but this year there appears to be even more brazen attempts than usual to capture our hearts and wallets. 

What is very different this year is the speed, frequency and length of many of the drinks promotions on offer. Instead of month-long campaigns to see us through to the new year a walk down an average high street will reveal special offers lasting a matter of days if not hours.

Even Marks & Spencer is getting in on the act with its one-off 20% discount on all wines and Champagnes which ran through to midnight. But wherever you look there are targeted, localised promotional campaigns taking place which disappear just as quickly as they spring up.

There is an element of desperation behind some of the offers with Champagnes stripped down by over a half with nearly two full weeks to go before Christmas.

It appears retailers both big and small, premium or discount have ripped up the promotions rulebook and are going with whatever takes their fancy that day. Consumers may not have much money to go around, but they have never had it so good.

It seems we can expect more of this guerrilla style tactics over the next few weeks up to the new year. If prices were low on certain brands and Champagnes this week, what are they going to be like coming up to Christmas Eve.

But with major suppliers increasingly resistant to the demands of heavy discounting, and retailers realising they cannot afford to subsidise month-long campaigns, these quick, smash and grab promotions look like being flavour of the festive month.

The advantage of such promotions is that if one brand runs out, another can step in.
It might be worth waiting a few more days before putting in your own Christmas drinks order.