Posted on: September 22, 2021
- Experiential marketing is a great way to introduce customers to a new product. For example, Oscar Mayer’s Wienermobile has been wowing hot dog fans since the 1980s.
Not many people can say that their first job after college was piloting a 27-foot-long hot dog across the United States. Colleen Craig, brand manager at Jasper Wyman & Son (known as Wyman’s for short), also has “hotdogger” on her resume.
That’s the name Oscar Mayer gives its Wienermobile drivers, or brand ambassadors. This experience serves Colleen well in her current role at Wyman’s, a premium frozen fruit brand.
“I started in what I would consider grassroots experiential marketing, just spreading the love of Oscar Mayer and hot dogs, and this piece of Americana that’s known as the Wienermobile,” says Colleen, who earned a communications degree from DePaul University and now has more than 15 years of experience as a professional marketer.
With her hotdogging days behind her, Colleen started working at Wyman’s in 2019, going back to her New England roots and aiming to bring a similar experiential marketing program to the Maine-based company.
She used her experience with Oscar Mayer to launch Wyman’s Bee Wild Mobile program in summer 2021, partnering with Marshall Communications to increase brand awareness about the company’s wild blueberries and their health benefits.
“It’s part of our mission to get people to eat more fruit, and a way to do that is to provide accessibility and a snack that is first and foremost tasty, but also healthy and has a low caloric count,” says Colleen, on Episode 144 of The PR MavenⓇ Podcast.
In our conversation, she shared best practices for working with brand ambassadors and her top four tips for creating a successful experiential marketing campaign.
A lot of people know Wyman’s as a wild blueberry company, but not a lot of people know the unique story of how the berry is cultivated only in the wild or the health benefits of eating the fruit.
Wyman’s wild blueberries have cropped up in Canada and Maine for thousands of years. With careful cultivation — taking two years to grow one wild blueberry — its fight for survival gives the berries extra nutritional benefits.
Wyman’s Just Fruit product line — some of which use frozen Greek yogurt pellets with a technology that is similar to Dippin’ Dots’— offer a low calorie treat that can provide a lot of health benefits. As the product expanded from the New England market (which it entered in 2019) to stores nationwide, it was time for a wider campaign.
Wyman’s knew its mission was to reach more people and share the awesomeness of wild blueberries, so the Bee Wild Mobile was born.
2. Experiential marketing is about creating memories
In summer 2021, the Bee Wild Mobile pilot began in Maine, transporting a massive truck painted with a crate of blueberries around the country. Wyman’s Bee Wild Mobile ambassadors give away stickers, enamel pins, wildflower seed packets, custom playing cards by a local illustrator and samples of its newest product, Just Fruit Cups.
The campaign’s goal is to execute 100 events in 100 days to showcase the special qualities of wild blueberries and to associate the fruit with the natural landscape of Maine.
Says Colleen: “We developed custom (and functional) branded giveaways that are meant to serve as a reminder of a visit to Maine, an experience in Maine and/or the remembrance of wild blueberries and Wyman’s.”
3. Get creative with advertising
For its 3lb bag of Wild Blueberries, Wyman’s launched an innovative ad campaign, including a scratch and sniff advertisement in Portland Monthly.
Colleen explains how this type of interactive ad invites readers to engage more of their senses to learn about wild blueberries, and it creates a memory that sticks.
They wanted to eschew the traditional static ad to engage more senses in their advertising, which would be more impactful than just imagery.
This kind of experience can be a powerful tool to expand a brand’s reach.
While there are parts of the country where frozen blueberries are in high demand, Colleen is working to get that interest to spread nationally. That means increasing awareness of the differences between wild blueberries — the official fruit of the state of Maine — and ordinary blueberries through campaigns people will remember.
4. Brand ambassadors and pollinators can expand your brand’s reach
Pollinators, or ambassadors of the Wyman’s brand, are spreading the word about Wyman’s wild blueberries — and their association with Maine — with their friends, families and networks.
“We see our employees as our best ambassadors and the state of Maine as our next best ambassador,” says Colleen.
The company is connecting with Pollinators across the state as they visit Maine this summer to share the Maine is Wild is Wyman’s story. Through the Bee Wild Mobile, Pollinators learn the Wyman’s story while having fun playing games and trying to win prizes.
Says Colleen: “We are trying to complete the circle for everyone, wherever they are, to continue to reinforce how special and unique the wild blueberry is, and its connection to Maine.”
This is based on episode 144 of The PR Maven® Podcast, a podcast hosted by Nancy Marshall. Weekly interviews feature industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers to give listeners a peek into the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding. Subscribe through Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.