Program: Taste of the Tournament for Kroger

Manufacturers: Coca-Cola Co.; Mondelez International, Hershey Co.

Lead Agency: Melt ATL

Award: Multi-Brand/Manufacturer Shopper Solution (Bronze)

As official sponsors of the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament, Coca-Cola, Mondelez and Hershey partnered for a shopper marketing program that made Kroger a one-stop shop for home parties around the tournament. All of the brands tied to the effort saw a nearly 8% lift in base dollar sales.

The campaign leveraged pre-shop and in-store materials, inviting shoppers to “taste the tournament” with the participating brands. Digital ads drove shoppers to enter an online sweepstakes that awarded one Kroger shopper tickets to the 2017 Final Four in Phoenix. The effort generated around 30,000 entries.

Other pre-store digital elements included “Tasty-style” recipe videos that incorporated the three partnering brands. The videos could be found on Kroger’s “March to Savings” website. An email blast helped target shoppers and drive them to the recipes, along with paid digital ads. Mobile ads driving shoppers to Kroger stores targeted basketball enthusiasts and women ages 25 to 45 who are the primary shoppers for their families.

In Kroger stores, vibrant displays that hosted products from Hershey, Mondelez and Coca-Cola were placed in high-traffic areas. Displays offered take-home recipes for Ritz and Reese’s sandwiches with Coke Floats and sampling stations also supported. In nearly 90 Kroger stores, basketball-themed events were held with trivia, games and giveaways. A large event was held in Phoenix as well during the championship weekend. Social media in the Phoenix area also helped raise awareness and money for local food banks.

Display execution scored well above its goal for all three brands. The insights driving the shopper marketing platform was that shoppers wanted easy ideas and an easy shopping experience for home-viewing tournament parties.