Last fall, Peapod turned heads with the launch of more than 100 virtual grocery stores at commuter rail stations in Chicago and along the East Coast. This summer, Peapod is popping up at popular neighborhood hangouts – from ballparks and concert venues to local rec centers and coffee shops – on a virtual marketing campaign circuit spanning Baltimore and Washington, D.C. , Philly, New York, Boston and Chicago.
The first of its kind in the U.S., Peapod’s virtual store technology features physical or digital billboards of larger-than-life grocery aisles positioned in community recreation centers, on coffee sleeves at local cafes, and on a high-tech Peapod truck traveling through each market through the end of summer. The campaign is designed to motivate smartphone users to scan a QR code and download a free PeapodMobile app, which allows them to start shopping on-the-go while they’re out and about in their communities.
“We all know how challenging it can be to get the attention of consumers in a meaningful way. When we piloted the virtual stores last fall, we found that the advertising stopped people – it engaged them, and we saw mobile app downloads as a result,” said Mike Brennan, COO, Peapod. “This go-round, we’re exploring new, hyper-local platforms to communicate our convenience message of ‘Shop Anywhere, Anytime with Peapod.’”
And just where is anywhere? The roving virtual store [via the Peapod truck] is making stops at: Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and US Cellular Field; at Café Benvenuto in midtown Manhattan; at the Boston Pops 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, and at BonJovi, One Direction and Justin Timberlake concerts in Chicago; plus popular tourist attractions and well-traveled thoroughfares.
Peapod has teamed with national consumer products brands – among them Barilla®, Coca-Cola®, Kimberly Clark®, Proctor & Gamble® and Reckitt Benckiser® – to populate its virtual store ads, featuring items that typically fill weekly grocery shopping baskets for busy households. Once on the PeapodMobile app, customers have access to more than 11,000 popular and store-brand products, from grocery basics to farm-fresh produce; top quality meats and seafood; prepared foods and party trays; deli meats and cheeses, sliced to order; Kosher, organic and specialty foods; office, school and pet supplies. A variety of beer, wine and beverages are also available in select markets.
In addition to its virtual store outposts, Peapod is employing highly visual guerrilla marketing tactics to catch consumers’ attention. These include a “human billboard” campaign that will distribute 10,000 t-shirts through radio partnerships, as well as a Peapod “cart car” – a 2014 Chevy Spark outfitted as a shopping cart, complete with elevated handle bars – cruising the streets of downtown Chicago.