Trendspot: Food banks make for good shopper marketing business practices

Lay's and Campbell Canada have successfully leveraged food banks to tie emotion to customers' purchase decisions and strengthen relationships with retail partners.

A trend that strategy has picked up on recently is collaboration between brands and their retail partners around leveraging food banks on endeavours of goodwill.

The strategy behind such joint cause-related shopper marketing efforts is twofold: establishing a solid emotional connection with customers at the moment they make their purchase decisions, and strengthening the relationship between retailer and manufacturer based on introducing mutual passion points into their joint planning endeavours. Here’s a look at how Campbell’s and Lay’s worked with their retail collaborators to do just that.

In November, Campbell Canada worked with retail partner Longo’s to launch the Help Hunger Disappear Food Bank Donation Program. Brown donation bags were polybagged with 338,000 copies of the holiday edition of Longo’s Experience magazine, which were distributed in Longo’s stores. The backs of the bags listed the most needed food bank items as indicated by Food Banks Canada. The program, says Martin Rydlo, director of portfolio strategy and initiatives, Campbell Company of Canada, not only  had an affect on customers when it came time to make their purchase decisions, but also provided them with an emotional reason to go to Longo’s.

“The shopper’s ‘planning’ phase is one of the four key elements of our path to purchase that we work on with our retailers to help drive traffic to stores,” says Rydlo. “In this case, providing the Help Hunger Disappear food bank donation bag insert with Longo’s Experience magazine gave potential shoppers an extra goodwill, emotional reason to go to Longo’s.”

“At Longo’s we are all about food and family and want to ensure we help support initiatives which strengthen our communities,” adds Harpreet Ferron, director, grocery, dairy, frozen and health and wellness, Longo’s. “Partnering with Campbell’s in our magazine allows our consumers to participate in the food bank donations by making the process simple and bringing attention to the cause.”

The program, says Rydlo, is a great example of Campbell Canada’s “Insights to Ideas to Impact” approach, which has become the cornerstone of its shopper marketing efforts. Implemented two years ago, it integrates shopper marketing insights with capabilities to drive profitable volume growth with Campbell customers, using powerful insights to drive breakthrough ideas that can be activated with impact. He adds that joint business planning programs like Help Hunger Disappear are critical to the way the company works with customers like Longo’s.

“At a joint planning session last year with senior participation from both Campbell Canada and Longo’s, we agreed that helping alleviate hunger was a cause for which we both had a passion,” says Rydlo. “It has helped us quickly and effectively execute programs related to hunger alleviation, and other areas because of the collaborative planning environment we have created together.”

Pepsico Canada’s Lay’s is another brand that has successfully incorporated food banks into shopper marketing programs. They were leveraged as part of a national in-store program to help localize the effort and strengthen the brand’s relationship with its retail partners.

Falling under its “Local” platform, which emphasizes that its potatoes come from regional farmers across the country, the effort sought to increase Lay’s in-store awareness, and consisted of the construction of in-store barn displays, some of which were big enough for customers to walk through them. The names of local food banks were included in the barns’ headers to regionalize the program, especially ideal in areas without local Lay’s potato crops, and raised $100,000 for food banks. The effort resulted in increased sales and even an internal Pepsico award for its success.