Louise Marsland (@Louise_Marsland)’s pick of new product, packaging and design launches this week:

  • Incredible Connection rebrands with pilot high-fashion stores and a new retail philosophy;
  • Sodastream bubbles on about its new brand ambassador; and
  • Magnum uses tweets as currency to sweeten brand awareness.

Incredible new stores

Incredible Connection: new retail store designIncredible Connection: new retail store design
The fashion retail experience is the inspiration for Design Partnership’s rebrand of Incredible Connection stores in order to create a retail-rich environment for customers to get to grips with technology and products across a wide range of categories.

“Technology is touching so many more consumers than previously. As Incredible Connection’s customer profile has shifted to become more inclusive, so the male-dominated and geeky environment of the ’90s has had to give way to a more retail-driven space.

“Technology is also crossing over into so many non-traditional technology areas that brands like Incredible Connection will soon find themselves competing with retailers it did not expect to. To this end, the new design puts the customer journey closer to that of a fashion retailer than its previous grocery/hardware store look and feel,” explains Design Partnership creative director, Yatish Narsi.

The brand was originally conceived in the ’90s, with the retail experience based on the ‘gateway’ and ‘best buy’ models. At the time, laptops, PCs and all their add-ons and peripherals were the mainstay of the technology retail experience. While laptops and tablets remain key contributors to the brand’s business — and will continue to do so as these categories mature in South Africa — the growing global post-PC era means there are hundreds of new technology opportunities to take advantage of, from intelligent devices of every description to fashionable, technology-enabled wearables.


“In many ways the new Incredible Connection design has been set up as a transition between these retail opportunities. Services and solutions are key bridges that help manage this transition, and a real innovation with the new stores is the consolidation of all the previously scattered service offerings like credit, connection, sales support and Techxperts into one central feature,” Narsi adds.

This represents the heart of Incredible Connection’s new unique value proposition (UVP)… customers with any questions or queries now only need to find one location to get what they need. The other categories have been rationalised and segmented in a way that makes sense for the consumer and are located around this central hub. The new product categories that continue to emerge in the face of this rapid divergence will systematically be added to the hub.

The new stores boast an entire product-display philosophy that governs this aspect of the experience. They also feature a ‘grocery’ area: a headquarters for all the consumables and peripherals that are becoming a new reality with all the new gadgets emerging, and high bay gondolas, which free up floor space and increase density for the creation of new retail focal points.

One such area is the smart centre to display smart TVs bundled with other complementary products, such as home WiFi and router solutions, games consoles, hard drives, etc. The addition of Techxpert support and connectivity means that customers can shop for complete smart solutions, all in one place.

Three pilot test stores have been set up in Secunda (Mpumalanga), Rosebank and Cradlestone (Gauteng).

Scarlett Johansson for SodaStream

Scarlett Johansson, global brand ambassador for Sodastream

The revitalised Sodastream brand, which is cool again, has fired one of the first salvos for Superbowl Sunday by announcing that actress Scarlett Johansson is its first global brand ambassador and will be appearing in the brand’s Superbowl ad on 2 February 2014.

The Superbowl ad premiere kicks off the multi-year partnership, which sees Johansson appearing in brand advertising as the face of Sodastream.

“We are thrilled to welcome the remarkably talented Scarlett Johansson into the SodaStream family,” states Francois Dippenaar, MD of SodaStream South Africa. “Scarlett is a long-time user and genuine fan of our products, a role model for healthy body image and a champion for environmental responsibility, making her the perfect choice for our global ambassador. She truly embodies our brand values.”

Tweet currency

Magnum Glamcam

After the launch of Magnum Pink Pomegranate and Magnum Black Espresso last year with an integrated campaign featuring TV, radio, digital campaigns and mall awareness, a Twitter auction took place, using tweets as actual currency. Primedia Unlimited’s TLC Glamcam was part of the below-the-line campaign to generate awareness around the auction.

The Twitter event and the physical auction took place at Sandton City, where the live Twitter feed was broadcast to consumers. Consumers following @MagnumSA had to use dedicated hashtags to tweet the items up for grabs that they wanted to win. Those who took part had to tweet as many times as possible in 15 minutes.

“Glamcam captured photos of the auction and ensured brand activation through sharing Magnum moments, whilst its set created a fun vibe at the events with spectacular backdrops and awesome photos,” says Primedia Unlimited’s Group MD, Brett Tucker.

The campaign saw a significant uptake of the brand and product, as well as increased social media activity on Facebook and Twitter.

Louise MarslandShelf Life by Louise Marsland is a weekly column on MarkLives. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland or email her at louise.marsland at Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Louise has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for 19 of her more-than-25-year career as a former editor of magazines AdVantage, Marketing Mix and Progressive Retailing, as well as websites and FMCGFiles. She currently edits the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper and is the publishing editor of industry trendwatching portal, TRENDAFRiCA, for consumer insight, research and trends in Africa.

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