In the lead-up to Mardi Gras, Sigma’s Zatarain’s teamed with Kroger for a digital campaign presenting the brand’s smoked sausages as perfect complements to McCormick & Co.’s Zatarain’s rice and dinner mixes.
Running Jan. 18 through Fat Tuesday (the last night of Mardi Gras) on Feb. 16, the program employed targeted, on-site banner ads inviting Kroger shoppers to “jazz up the ordinary this Mardi Gras” while depicting Zatarain’s Cajun and andouille smoked sausages (manufactured through a license from McCormick & Co. and marketed by Sigma-owned Bar-S Foods) alongside the rice and dinner mixes. Activated through the retailer’s Kroger Precision Marketing media network, the ads directed shoppers to an e-commerce page listing both the rice and sausage SKUs. The page also allowed Kroger shoppers to clip a digital coupon for $1 off the combined purchase of one Zatarain’s rice or dinner mix and one Zatarain’s smoked sausage SKU through Feb. 28. A featured search campaign on Kroger.com supported.
Coupon redemption was aggressive, and additional investment was needed to sustain the offer through the entirety of the campaign, says Anthony Nguyen, director of trade marketing at Sigma. “Not surprisingly, I think consumers just really [responded to] the combination of the rice mixes and the … smoked sausages,” says Nguyen, noting that Zatarain’s rice and dinner mixes often instruct shoppers to add smoked sausage to the meal. “It makes sense and, then when you tie an offer to it, it just becomes a simple decision for the consumer.” (Note: Full post-program results were not available as of press time.)
Sigma also plugged Zatarain’s smoked sausages at Sam’s Club ahead of Mardi Gras, running digital ads on the retailer’s website and deploying targeted emails to shoppers. Social influencers, radio spots and targeted mobile ads with links to recipes and videos were also employed to spotlight the brand’s smoked sausages at various retailers.
Marketing Beyond the Pandemic
It’s no accident that Zatarain’s’ marketing plans leading up to Mardi Gras leaned heavily on digital and e-commerce. Given the significant increase in online grocery shopping brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sigma has been investing more in digital or, as Nguyen looks at it, “trying to bring the grocery store to the [shopper].”
“Especially at the height of the pandemic, it was difficult because, as an industry, we spent a lot of time doing a lot of the in-store stuff – which, to be clear, still has a lot of value,” Nguyen says. “But I think it forced a lot of manufacturers and retailers to look at how they can continue serving their customers and their consumers. For us, that meant going to digital, going to places where people are fully immersed.” These days, “that’s in people’s phones and on their computers,” he says.
Sigma will continue to lean into digital even after the pandemic as consumers continue to shop online. “For better or worse, [the pandemic] forced people to change the way that they shop, and I think for a lot of people they probably realized [online shopping] wasn’t as scary as they thought and was probably more convenient than they imagined.”