Sargento Cooks Up Buzz with Retailtainment Efforts
Sargento was after “food adventurers,” consumers who like to experiment with their recipes. To persuade them to try its Bistro Blends line of cheeses, Sargento decided on a three-pronged approach that would give those adventurers a chance to taste the goods, see them being prepared and fire questions at culinary experts.
“The campaign was just what we needed in terms of showing people what Bistro Blends is—that it’s not just another shredded cheese,” says Barbara Gannon, Sargento’s vp-corporate and marketing communications.
Sargento demonstrators talked to consumers and distributed recipe booklets, coupons and samples at 1,900 supermarkets. The brand went even deeper in 164 of those stores, where professional chefs engaged consumers by fielding questions, handing out samples and sharing recipes.
To move consumers from sampling to consideration to purchase, Sargento pulled together the ingredients for the recipes being prepared by the chefs—making it easy for shoppers to grab everything they needed for their home cookin’.
The grocery store activity was complemented by a Bistro Blends Battle!, a live cooking competition in malls in five markets. The events gave families a chance to show off their own recipes incorporating Bistro Blends. “We felt that it could [generate] viral marketing and that people would tell each other about the smell of the food and the taste, and that it would give it an extra boost,” Gannon says.
The sampling-only events in grocery stores produced a 69 percent sales increase compared with the average six weeks before. In stores that hosted chef demos, Sargento recorded a 232 percent sales increase during the support weeks compared with the six-week average.
If Sargento could do it all over again, Gannon says trimming the mall component would be the only change she’d make. “We would’ve done the same amount throughout the course of a day in-store [without] the effort of setting it up in the malls. And we would still get the sales bump.”