Air Miles and Voila bring a points partnership to life with popsicles

With help from Happy Pops, a co-branded sampling truck has been promoting the loyalty program and delivery platform.

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In May, Air Miles Rewards was integrated into Sobeys’ delivery platform, Voilà, for consumers to earn points on select products.

To celebrate the occasion, the brands came together the past two weekends and, in collaboration with dessert disruptor Happy Pops, handed out 6,000 popsicles in Toronto parks, using an Air Miles and Voilà-branded delivery truck.

According to Kevin Galbraith, associate director, content and communications, LoyaltyOne, Air Miles wanted to spread some love, educate and create awareness about the new earning opportunities for Air Miles and Voila customers, specifically targeting young professionals and families across the city.

The sampling, he says, resulted in 65,000 impressions on the ground – even with no other media support, such as OOH.

With the help of Happy Pops, it created special popsicle sticks that featured coupon codes for Voilà offers on a consumer’s next purchase, which revealed itself upon melting, as well as 18 grand prize “golden stickets.”

The campaign’s “sweet rewards, delivered faster” messaging was promoted on-site and also amplified on pack. The popsicle sticks were also co-branded, a first for Happy Pops, an all-natural ice pop brand sourced from organic cane sugar and whose founder, Leila Keshavjee, appeared on an episode of Dragons’ Den. 

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Keshavjee says the brand also created a limited edition, not available in stores, custom flavour for the Sobeys/Air Miles link up: Peach Lemonade. The product calls out Voilà’s peach branding, a routine fixture on the grocer’s delivery trucks.

Keshavjee tells strategy that for Happy Pops, there’s a strategic alignment too, as it’s now available at Sobeys, which has been looking to spotlight smaller local brands.

“The quantities are not large enough for a big player [and] in order to do something like this, you kinda need to go to a smaller player,” she adds.

Fuse Create – which Air Miles named its experiential and shopper AOR in December – helped bring the activation to life in only six weeks, and learnings from the two-weekend program will inform how the CPG activates going forward, Keshavjee says.

“We learn from every activation and get better at executing,” she says, pointing to a recent program with Holt Renfrew when it reopened following the lockdown, which helped it regain its sampling footing.

The brand initially catered to corporate events, but according to Keshavjee, the pandemic led Happy Pops to lose 70% of its revenue when lockdowns were initiated last year. At the time, Happy Pops, like many others, made a DTC pivot and as a result, is seeing a spike in omnichannel traffic.