#1. Sunflower Market
Here's a colorful online-offline viral combo that introduced
an organic foods retail brand to suburban moms. We loved the downloadable desktop
plant that needed watered and fertilized (and forwardable) on a daily basis. Media outlets
were snail-mailed sunflower pots, and the guerilla team *seeded* neighborhood lawns in
a three-mile radius with store-branded cardboard sunflowers. Did it succeed? Bloggers
picked up on the sunflower app, and they beat their first month's sales goals by 18%. Oh,
yeah, and Whole Foods' plans to build a competing store were put on hold.
Client/company: Sunflower Market
Brand campaign was conducted for: Sunflower Market
Launch date of campaign: 2006
Target audience/demographic: "Everymoms" who, for good reason, were
intimidated by organics. These were mid-tier shoppers who wanted to buy
more organic and natural foods, but weren't pleased with their options.
At the time we launched Sunflower Market, the United States was up to its
phytonutrient neck in natural and organic food stores. The category was
dominated by strong brands (e.g., Whole Foods and Trader Joe's). In fact,
the boom had been so immense that experts would soon predict that it
had quite possibly reached its peak. Even category killer Wal-Mart had
entered the organic food market -- perhaps the surest sign that this retail
trend had reached its maturity. Amid all of this, who in their right mind
would ever think of entering the organic food market? Not to mention on a
marketing budget of (insert gulp here) less than $200,000. Our challenge
was to make yet another organic player become, well, anything but
another organic player.
If our mission was to let intimidated suburban moms know organics were
finally refreshingly fun, friendly, simple and affordable for all, we knew --
given our budget -- we had to design a Sunflower Market movement that
would (pun fully intended) self-pollinate and reach all corners of our
market with holistic, viral and relationship-building strategies and tactics.
Online, we created the "Amazing Growing Virtual Sunflower," a viral tactic
Sunflower Market used to spread the word of its arrival. Users could grow
the downloadable desktop plant or kill it depending on how much water,
sunlight and fertilizer they used. Friends could email friends with what they
grew to brighten each others' days, and, of course, spread the word for us.
Offline, we sent key media contacts branded sunflower pots six weeks
before the store opening (the amount of time it takes for a sunflower to
germinate), along with soil and seeds. Instructions were to "plant the
seeds in the pot, and, by the time it sprouts, you will have been introduced
to the sunny new face of organic food."
As we moved within a week of the store opening, we continued with our
guerilla theme with "lawn-vertising." Fields of sunflowers began to pop up
in the front yards of homes in the three-mile radius of the store. Ultimately,
payoff messages went up the day of the grand opening, telling the
community to "see what just popped up" in their neighborhood, Sunflower
Market, the sunny new face of organics.
With regards to measurement, we set out to achieve the following
1. Meet our goal of forecasted sales for the opening week of the store
2. Achieve the forecasted sales commitment for the first month of
3. Achieve average "basket-size" sales of $15 per ticket/receipt.
4. Establish ourselves as a leader in the critical area of fresh produce with
sales accounting for 15% of total store sales.
5. Create a database of loyal customers for future marketing initiatives.
The organically-grown cherry on top is that our efforts received coverage
by all four local Indianapolis TV stations as well as print and online media --
garnering more than 1,631,862 impressions. Bloggers also picked up on
the virtual growing sunflower feature on the website.
Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
Not only did we meet forecasted sales for the opening week, we exceeded
them by 24%. We met and surpassed our sales goal for the first month by
18%. On a per-ticket basis, we blew our goal out of the water by achieving
an average of $25 per ticket (a 67% increase over projections). To date,
produce sales have accounted for 24% of overall store sales (9
percentage points above forecasted). Of all of the customer registrations
obtained during the launch week, over two-thirds of the registrants opted
in to receive emails for future marketing initiatives.
In addition to exceeding our metric goals, signs of our success were
evident in other ways. In Indianapolis, after the launch of Sunflower
Market, plans to open and build a new Whole Foods were put on hold.
Since the flagship Indianapolis store opening, three more new Sunflower
Markets have opened in two other states this year, and the company plans
to open 50 more stores over the next five years.
We're surprised just how many people have digital green thumbs.