Effie Case Study: “Pints and Plates Pizza Pairings at Walmart”

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Effie Case Study: “Pints and Plates Pizza Pairings at Walmart”

By Michael Applebaum - 09/14/2020

Marketer: MillerCoors

Agency: Arc Worldwide

Effie Commerce & Shopper Category: Single-Retailer Program: Mass Merchants (Finalist)

By midsummer of 2018, MillerCoors’ beer sales were declining nearly 2% at major retailers across the U.S. In fact, all of the major breweries were struggling as more and more people were choosing wine and spirits over beer. The majority of those losses were coming from Millennials, and MillerCoors needed a way to bring them back into the fold.

Creating a program around food pairings was a strong bet. Research showed that 58% of Millennials consider themselves to be foodies. Still, because pairing food with wine is more familiar, the rise of food culture has been phenomenal for wine sales at the expense of beer. MillerCoors saw an opportunity to win over a segment it called “Facile Foodies,” who love the idea of being a foodie but not the effort it takes to cook like one. The brand focused its activation specifically on Walmart, given that the retailer had recently enjoyed growth in the “metro Millennial” segment who trended more urban and affluent.

“Pints and Plates” was a total-store activation built around pairing MillerCoors beers with a favorite, easy-to-make food among Millennials: artisan pizza. MillerCoors reps worked with master cicerones (world-certified tasting experts) to pair the perfect beer with one of four of Walmart’s premium take-and-bake pizzas. An in-store tasting event delivered samples, tasting notes and a special discount offer, and the program was cross-promoted in both the beer aisle and pizza case. All P-O-P materials, samples and offers drove shoppers to PintsandPlates.com, a web- and mobile-enabled site that provides education and inspiration on beer and food pairings, along with entertaining ideas and recipes.

Thanks to these efforts, sales of promoted MillerCoors beer brands grew by 14% at Walmart compared to the previous period. Out-of-aisle beer displays performed far beyond expectations, driving a 98% increase in sales at stores with the activation. Walmart was flooded with pizza sales, which had been consistently flat but increased an average of 38% during the program.

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