The Häagen-Dazs / Target Conspiracy

Posted by steve | General Commentary | Monday 24 September 2012 10:03 pm

I’m good with targeted marketing in practice. It is much better to get coupons or notices of sales for items you regularly buy. The Target stores do a pretty good job at this. Invariably, when I buy groceries at my friendly local Super Target store, during the checkout process, their computer system prints out coupons just for me to be used next time shopping. Targeted marketing done right. They track me by the credit/debit card I use and on-the-spot create coupons for things I have either just purchased or have purchased in the past. As a Systems Architect, I admire how the design is working and respect it.

There is a clever little marketing game I’ve noticed however. This has to do with those smaller 14 Oz. containers of ice cream made by Häagen-Dazs and others. It’s great ice cream and I quite enjoy the quality and the size of the container. It’s not meant to be a “single serving” container. But it often is.

Now here’s the pattern, no, conspiracy I’ve picked up on. Months ago I purchased one container of
Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Just one. During the checkout Target prints out a little coupon for me to use on a future shopping trip. I’m sure I’ve forgotten the exact coupon discount, but it said something like “Buy two Häagen-Dazs next time and get $1.00 off”.

The next time I go shopping I remember the coupon and purchase two. Targeted marketing worked. And when I got to the checkout a new coupon prints out. It says something like “Buy three and get $1.00 off”. I probably have the amount remembered incorrectly, but I’m certain the count on the coupon was three.

You can see where this is heading. Sure enough, next time I buy three little cups, remembering the coupon, and at checkout time I get an automated coupon printed out that says something like “Buy four and get $1.50 off”.

Next trip I buy four, using my coupon, and I’m not kidding, I get a coupon that says “Buy five for $2.00 off”.

They’re on to me.

So I wait a while. I didn’t buy five. It takes a while to consume four! A few weeks pass and I decide to do a little experiment. I buy just one.

At checkout I get a coupon that says “Buy two and get $1.00 off”. They got me figured out. It’s an ice cream conspiracy between Häagen-Dazs and Target.