The brand didn’t make it clear they were not edible, but the promotion was a good way to add value, says Sarah Green

A promotion is only as good as the way it's communicated. Take Lurpak's current on-pack campaign, which offers free seeds with every tub.

A small window on the promotional sleeve reveals a disc with the seeds, with information on how to cultivate (in my case) basil inside. It was an imaginative promotion. But all was not what it seemed.

Various newspapers reported that a number of elderly people were caught out by the grow-your-own seed kits, thinking the seeds were edible. My own boys escaped a similar 'hazard' as they too tussled for the free 'cookie'.

So how has Lurpak managed to sow the seeds of confusion? The promotional sleeve doesn't shout 'free seeds', and consumers rarely read or examine the small print. If it is stacked on the supermarket shelf, you don't see the 'free seeds' flash. The 'pellet is not edible' message is also obscured by the seed disc itself, and the dark text has limited standout. As a busy shopper whose mission it is to get out of store as fast as possible, I thought I'd bought a basil-flavoured variant. Clearly, I wasn't alone in being tempted by a brand that had good standout, but wasn't completely clear on what it was offering.

Apart from some unwelcome press coverage, as well as the potential safety concern, there is a wider issue here about how fmcg brands communicate their promotions.

Lurpak is a great example of a brand looking to address the increasingly common issue of price-discounting to minimise the impact on brand loyalty and margins. With 44% of fmcg products sold on promotion, it's not surprising that brands look to differentiate and add value.

Seed 'biscuit' retrieved, I planted the seeds with my boys and impressed upon them how important it is to read instructions. They've been slightly disheartened by the fact it could take up to 90 days before our basil's ready, but we had an enjoyable family experience nonetheless. What bogof can say that?

Brands take note. You don't have to be a slave to price promotions communicate your promotion clearly and added value can be child's play.

Sarah Green is MD of marketing communications agency Dialogue141