Based in Wilmington, North Carolina (with stores in South Carolina and Virginia), Lowes Foods prides itself on artisan, local taste – to the point Mondelez and the Ritz brand appeared too big and too mainstream to appeal to shoppers in North Carolina stores. Ritz was able to reach these shoppers through a campaign that paired flavors of the crackers to local craft beers.
The original Ritz cracker is the main event in the portfolio, but the brand does have other flavors such as roasted vegetable, bacon, garlic butter, everything and honey wheat. For this local campaign, the brand paired those flavors with a style of draft beer that was available for purchase in the Lowes Foods beer destination called The Beer Den. More than a cold vault of cases of beer, the Den serves up local draft beer. Shoppers could try the pairings and get a growler of draft beer to go.
Elements of the campaign spanned pre-store, in-store and post-store, beginning with a custom-built mobile app experience that highlighted the full breadth of crackers and what beers paired best. The mobile experience offered money off on a growler to drive traffic. In addition, a full-page ad ran in the Lowes circular.
The app also enabled shoppers to scan specialty packages of Ritz to learn about beer pairings in-aisle or at home. Shelf talk signage supported in stores and could be scanned as well. Once the scan took place, geo-location identified where shoppers were when receiving that message and served them the mobile experience. Endcaps paired growlers to take to The Beer Den for a fill-up with packages of Ritz. Neck hangers on the bottles promoted the offer.
Traditionally marketed to moms looking for a home-entertaining idea, the Lowes Foods program broadened the Ritz brand to the beer-drinking category and generated a healthy uptick in sales. Insights showed that Lowes Foods shoppers are down to earth and seek out authentic experiences. The Ritz pairing campaign did just that.
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