The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry tries very hard to let you know just how necessary its products are to your life. Yes, your life. And your family’s lives.

Supermarkets and large scale retail outlets are only too happy to assist this effort, routinely charging CPG businesses a premium just to stock some items on their shelves. You want that row of toothpaste at eye level? That’ll be another premium – and, in many cases, one happily paid. CPG people want to reach you, after all. At whatever manageable cost.

These days, though, golden-glow, soft-focus TV spots about the wonders of laundry detergent aren’t going to keep you captivated. Appealing to the one object that commands your undivided attention might, however. Which is exactly where the CPG industry is planning a massive advertising assault. On your mobile device.

Mobile – it’s the real thing

Makes sense, you say? Because everyone is doing it? Could be. Then again, maybe the CPG folks are further ahead of consumers than previously imagined. According to a recent article in Advertising Age, there are least five things that consumers probably don’t realize about CPG advertising on mobile:

  • The CPG business is flocking to mobile advertising faster than any other industry vertical, with spending having increased some 235%
  • CPGs are into mobile more for its awareness effect – with 45% of CPG mobile campaigns citing that goal, as opposed to just 14% among all mobile advertisers in general
  • Location-targeted ads are another priority for CPGs. Beauty and beverage advertisers make up nearly 70% of the CPG subcategories that use location targeting
  • Men appear to be reaching for their phones in stores more often than women – mostly to check prices or find deals (and never, ever to check the score of that afternoon baseball game…much less check out a short movie or two); women seem more inclined to text their friends about certain goods, or to take pictures and look up product features
  • Phones get pretty heavy use in supermarkets, and not just to request a cleanup on Aisle 3. Research indicates that 40% of women and 47% of men used their phones in-store to locate deals or coupons

A new godfather in town

The most obvious reason why CPGs are getting into mobile is to take advantage of the portability of smartphones, tablets or mini-tablets to reach consumers while they’re prowling the aisles. Some supermarket chains already offer online coupons. What’s to prevent them from offering those same deals via mobile, especially if stores get into the habit of posting QR codes – smack-dab in the middle of a happy endcap display — that promise a fun surprise at the end of a product video? And, sorry to say, an entirely wholesome one at that — like, maybe, 20% off every produce item purchased within the next 30 minutes? Or a pair of coupons – one for you, the other for a guest – just for responding to a friendly text? (Possibly adding your device to future text offers.)

Assuming they could get away with it – and, if done in limited fashion, there’s every reason to believe in the possibility – CPGs could even install devices that connect to your mobile device as you near the location of their products. And then shoot you a quick coupon/offer that, depending on the degree of Don Corleone persuasion involved, you might not be able to refuse.

And all of this can be done without incurring costs to print coupons, or have circulars stuffed in newspapers. And by maybe even reducing product-placement premiums by opting for a less visible shelf location – that nonetheless gets noticed because the product is essentially calling your phone. Or at least its marketers are, likely disguised as some goofy smartphone cartoon character your kid thinks is a genius.

The numbers don’t lie

Another AdAge report says that, based on responses from 1,200 people involved in making advertising decisions, CPGs plan to spend big on mobile this coming year, with two-thirds of CPG advertisers and their respective agencies planning to up mobile spending.

The next-closest category of increased ad spending for CPGs? Digital, where 51% of those surveyed predict an increase. By contrast, only 10% foresee spending more ad dollars in newspapers, and just 18% see that happening with respect to magazines.

The handwriting, then, such as it is, is fairly clear. Promising galaxies of clean with every wash, unparalleled freedom with daily use and the security of knowing your precious home is once again safe from pests and blocked up drains.

It’ll all be right there in digital letterforms, dancing on your smartphone’s screen. And very likely coming soon to a tablet near you.

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