Same-day delivery app Shipt put its own spin on a ubiquitous back-to-school symbol—the yellow school bus—with the launch of a mobile tour designed to demonstrate the ease of ordering school supplies through its service. Anchoring the tour—which visited New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore from July 20 to Aug. 2—was a branded bright green school bus adorned with classic classroom icons that parked at high-traffic locations in each city.
“Shipt is an e-commerce company, but we are in the business of making human connections, and so not having a brick-and-mortar presence, we like to use experiential marketing as our de facto brick-and-mortar presence,” says Allison Stadd, svp-brand marketing and creative at Shipt. “It’s our highest touch marketing channel. It’s our opportunity to really create those high-impact moments and have that face time with all of our stakeholders and our constituents, from shoppers, to members, to our partners and community members.”
At each stop, consumers could step inside the colorful bus featuring trending classroom and dorm products, as well explore an outdoor reading nook and snack and coloring stations. A backpack packing station, in partnership with the organization Operation Backpack, offered visitors the opportunity to build backpacks for students in need.
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Shipt Shoppers and brand ambassadors were on hand to welcome consumers at each tour stop and share information about Shipt and its back-to-school shopping campaign, inspired by the challenges related to supply chain shortages and rising prices, according to Stadd. Supporting the program was the brand’s “Ultimate Back-to-School Shopping Guide,” developed using survey results and proprietary shopping insights to help parents, teachers and students navigate what to buy ahead of the return to school.
To drive awareness of the tour stops, Shipt employed a robust social strategy, utilized paid media in local communities and worked with influencers. The company also partnered with actress Kristen Bell, who shared her own recommendations on must-have supplies for the shopping guide.
“Everything that we do, we try and create this sort of virtual feeling; I always talk about this idea of like a burst of confetti, having that feeling when you’re interacting with the brand,” Stadd says. “We have the benefit of a really bright and engaging color palette, and so we try and bring that to life and put a seasonal spin on it, depending on when the campaign is happening. The green and the purple gives us a lot of runway to have fun with, and it’s really engaging, especially for children who were a big part of the target group here as parents brought them along for the experience.”
About 12,000 people attended the family-friendly tour, and Stadd says the strong attendance is “a learning that something went right here,” with a 360-degree approach that leveraged the “different spokes of the wheel.”
“It was an opportunity to really integrate across all of our marketing communications teams internally,” she says. “I think we all know the magic that you can unlock when everyone comes together and creates one end-to-end campaign holistically. We want to replicate that process for the future so we have that same synergy going into Halloween, holidays and everything that’s exciting on our docket for 2023.” Agency: EventLink.