A couple of you have emailed and commented saying that your Jewel stores didn’t let you use the POM Wonderful coupons because the insert coupon states: “Cannot be used during any in-store promotional offer or discount.” Well, look at that, it sure does. This is getting ridiculous. It’s bad enough when Johnson & Johnson decides to limit all its coupons to one (sure, I’d never need two boxes of Band-Aids, or more than one box of Stayfree, or maybe only one of my kids needs a new toothbrush today and the other one can just use his finger). But prohibiting the use of a coupon during a store sale? If POM is $4.99 and my store decides to put it on sale for $4.98, I can’t use the POM Wonderful coupon? If Jewel decides to add POM to “gotta love lower prices” and drop its everyday price — shelf tag shows a discount, oh no, we’re done. If they’re sampling the product — oh, that’s promotional, can’t use the coupon.
I understand that companies are trying to tighten up on coupon usage. I understand that the optimal situation for a manufacturer is that we try a product using a coupon, get hooked, and then continue to buy it at full price. And you know what? I know people who now drink POM because they were once able to get it free on a store promo and found they really like the stuff — it sometimes does work.
But wording like this? It’s fine, POM — you can keep your overpriced juice. I was thinking of trying their new flavors on the Jewel deal; now, that’s simply not going to happen.
Think it through, manufacturers
Another reason manufacturers put out coupons is to create a positive association with their brand in consumers’ minds. Even if you don’t use this particular coupon for a product, you’ll remember seeing that coupon, you’ll remember that the company puts out coupons, you’ll remember it as advertising. That all works to make you more likely to buy brand X in the future over brand Y, because repeated exposure breeds familiarity and we tend to reach for brands we know.
When companies impose artificial and arbitrary limits on their coupons, however, especially when they overreach to the extent of “no coupons with a sale” or “just one per person, folks!” that creates a negative association in consumers’ minds. I’m pretty annoyed at J&J after repeatedly seeing “limit one” on all their coupons for a couple of months. All things being equal, I’ll probably grab Nexcare over Band-Aid next time I’m in the market for, say, bandages. And, I’m honestly aghast at the POM Wonderful coupon wording — we’ll be drinking any other kind of juice around here. In their zeal to limit and control, companies that go overboard on coupon restrictions might just end up hurting their own image and their own sales in the long run.
What do you guys think?
Am I overreacting here? I’m really disturbed by this trend, and think that this POM Wonderful coupon wording just takes it to its logical extreme. What do you guys think?