Progresso Soup is buy one get one free this week at Publix. We love buying soup for the North Gwinnett Co-op when we can combine sale prices plus coupons, so we were excited to see a “blinkie” Progresso Soup coupon dispenser right in front of the soup.
The coupon reads “save $2.00 on Premium Crackers products when you buy three cans of any flavor/variety Progresso Soup”. We turned the coupon over, noticed the relatively short barcode, and pulled out QSeer. QSeer shows that the coupon is coded as $2 off 3 Progresso soups, and there is no crackers purchase requirement in the barcode.
So did General Mills make a mistake with the barcode? Is this a coupon error? We don’t think so. We think the coupon was encoded exactly as General Mills intended. General Mills makes Progresso Soup, and so they want you to buy soup. General Mills does not manufacture Premium Crackers, so they really don’t care whether you buy crackers or not.
Nabisco, the manufacturer of Premium Crackers, wants you to buy crackers, but they are not paying any portion of the coupon redemption costs. It is possible that they paid some of the costs to print and distribute the coupons, but those are small compared to the redemption expense.
So why are crackers even pictured on the coupon? Most likely for the store’s benefit. The store is the gate keeper for coupon acceptance, but they are reimbursed by the manufacturer for coupon redemption. The stores simply make more sales when you feel guilted into buying crackers or some other additional product. A high value offer like this can help the manufacturers get displays which helps sell more product. This is just another trick that manufacturers and retailers play to get you to spend more money!