Experiential marketing is vital for food

Experiential marketing is vital for food

As such, experiential campaigns have always been a big part of food brands’ marketing: think roadshows, pop-ups in targeted locations, interactive sideshows that offer the chance for the brand to be consumed, as it were, in an unusual setting. It gives food a voice outside the supermarket aisle or online basket.

But in recent years, experiential marketing has been pulled up for being ineffective. And given the current pandemic situation, under which the mere notion of taking a free sample from someone on the street fills some customers with dread, the experiential practice has become an easy target.

Why?

Because brands measure experiential wrongly.

The focus has for too long been on reach, rather than engagement. When brands don’t see return on investment, they can easily cut it – especially nowadays, where every penny counts.

In 2019, Swedish food and drink brand Oatly dominated the London Coffee Festival, activating one of its no-nonsense campaigns on the weekend of the event. A concentrated spend of £250,000 on a targeted out-of-home drive ensured that Oatly was the talking point of the – relatively specialist – festival.

On paper, its activations across Brick Lane, Old Street and Shoreditch High Street perhaps don’t look like they’d have the same pulling power as, say, Euston Station. But a smaller, more concentrated spend, tactically activated at the right place and time – come on, who’s going to ignore Oatly’s message of ‘ditch milk’ during an event devoted to coffee? – can build much more meaningful interactions and reactions.

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