Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Oregon-based Tillamook Cheese shut the dairy farm gates behind it and hit the open road Jan. 9 on The Loaf Love Tour, making its first stop in Tucson, AZ, then nine other states and 25 cities over 11 months. At the center of the tour is a fleet of Loaf Love Buses: 1967 Volkswagen buses shortened by four feet, lowered by one foot and refurbished as replicas of Tillamook’s baby cheddar cheese loaves.
“We know that if people taste our cheese, especially our cheddar, that they realize that all cheddars are not created equal and that we have the best tasting cheddar,” John Russell, senior director-marketing at Tillamook, told Buzz. “Then the trick was how do we do it in a special way, because we didn’t just want to do traditional in-store sampling.”
The baby buses travel in a transparent enclosure atop a branded trailer a.k.a. “the daddy loaf,” making stops at retail chains where they serve as eye candy to lure customers to the experience, which includes the Love Loaf Lounge, a sampling tent where customers can taste the cheese and grab coupons and recipes. Kiosks are available to sign up for the Tillamook fan club as well as upload consumer photos (shot at the event or on their own) to enter to win branded merchandise like buttons saying “Loaf Thy Neighbor,” “Loaf Conquers All” and “I Loaf You.” To play up the wholesomeness of the brand, nine Oregon-based brand ambassadors will be on site as well as two dairy princesses who are daughters of farmers whose cows provide the milk Tillamook uses to make its cheese.
Tillamook also created Loaf Lounge Kits to set up in break rooms at retailers to give staffers a personalized cheese sampling experience including branded merchandise and product information. The brand also created pre-event buzz on its Loaf Love Tour Facebook fan page and Twitter page. And to make sure all tour kinks were worked out before it hit the road, Tillamook tested the tour for three months in its home state and in neighboring Washington, which provided content for the digital experience on loaflovetour.com. Agency: Henry V, Portland, OR.