Nine Pandemic-era Sampling Activations with Tasty Strategies

From celebrity chef partnerships to restaurant menu infusions to unexpected food trucks, brands are leaning on a variety of tactics to deploy safe, yet satisfying, sampling experiences for eager consumers. And as they can operate at small scale and meet local health regulations, these events, by default, are often optimized for COVID safety. Here, we round up nine brands engaging consumer tastebuds and loyalty in the pandemic era.

  • Amaro Montenegro’s Traveling Pop-up Bar is a ‘Flexible’ European Escape

    Italian liqueur brand Amaro Montenegro is bringing international travel to consumers in America with a traveling pop-up bar experience, “Bar Monte,” that is targeting food and wine festivals across the country. The scaled-down sampling program is anchored in a tricked-out trailer pulled by a classic wood-paneled vintage Jeep Wagoneer. The tour launched in June at...

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  • No Small Potatoes: Idahoan Foods Embarks on a National Sampling Tour

    As large-scale events resume safely this year, Idahoan Foods is making a move to plant a stake in the ground in the comeback and engage consumers in the convenience of the mashed potato. The brand’s new Mashed in America Tour is targeting sports fans, concert goers and shoppers at an array of events and retail...

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  • Inspiration Flourishes in St-Germain’s New York City Cocktail Bar Pop-up

    Summer cocktails taste most refreshing against an inspiring backdrop. For St-Germain elderflower liqueur, that notion flourished amid blooms, fashion and dance in a pop-up located in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, Aug. 13-15. Fleuriste St-Germain, a flower shop and cocktail bar experience, was inspired by the cultural salons of early modern revolutionary France, and offered...

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  • Mobile Tours: Wyman’s Kicks off a Brand Marketing Push with a Local Sampling Program

    The average consumer can’t distinguish between wild and cultivated blueberries, if they recognize that there are two types at all. Maine-based frozen fruit brand Wyman’s is on a mission to change that with help from two alumni of the Oscar Mayer Hotdogger and Planters Peanutter brand ambassador programs. The 147-year-old family-owned company is marking its...

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  • Sweets and the City: Godiva Deploys a Retro Pink Truck to ‘Deliver Happiness’ to New Yorkers

    Right now, Godiva figures we could all use some good cheer—and chocolate. Recalling a post-World War II stunt in which Godiva founder Pierre Draps repainted delivery trucks a bright pink to spread good cheer throughout Brussels, the premium chocolate brand sent a pink-hued vintage truck to hot spots around New York City for a sampling...

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  • Sampling is Back: Get a Taste of the Impossible Food Truck Tour

    As COVID restrictions lifted and vaccines got underway this spring, the industry saw the widespread return of sampling, and Impossible Foods wasted no time getting its plant-based products into consumers’ hands. On a mission to reach a new retail audience and support Walmart, a key customer, the brand hit the road with the Impossible Food...

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  • How a Localized Sampling Campaign Gave Herdez and the Boston Community a Lift

    As the U.S. reaches a turning point in the pandemic, smart marketers are now drafting event programming for later this year ahead of what experts predict will be a mad summer rush. And in the case of traditional Mexican salsa brand Herdez, it’s a matter of lifting a garage door and shifting its fully branded...

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  • French’s Pop-Up with Tom Colicchio Encourages Consumers to Dump Mayo

    Mayo or mustard? To get a free sandwich from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, some 750 hungry New Yorkers pledged their allegiance to French’s at a pop-up eatery the brand staged next to the chef’s flagship restaurant, Craft. The MustSwitch sandwich campaign—as in, “must switch from mayonnaise to mustard”—was designed to position mustard as a healthier...

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  • Président Cheese Kicks Off a Sampling Tour With a Mini Pub for Super Bowl LV

    When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs faced off for Super Bowl LV earlier this month, in-person brand activations were limited due to safety concerns amid the pandemic. But specialty cheese brand Président had a new product to promote. Having recently launched its snack-size Pub Cheese served with pretzels, it decided to...

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