THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project NEW!
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Meijer becomes big-box first retailer on Snapchat with back-to-college campaign

Finalist in Retail & E-Commerce

Entered in Snapchat

About this entry

To begin a relationship with college students, Meijer's secondary audience, as they are first forming their shopping habits, it was critical that Meijer do something to show this important audience it understands them and their media habits.

When looking at the profile of Meijer's college shoppers, it was evident that they were ravenous Snapchat users, and were open to receiving Snaps from brands. The team consulted Snapchat for updated statistics on its user base, which showed nearly 70% of Snapchat users were teens and adults in their early 20's. Additional research also showed 50% of 12-24-year-olds report using Snapchat and 77% report using the app daily. No other app shows similar youthful penetration and usage statistics.

To introduce Meijer's Snapchat presence to this audience, Meijer and the agency activated as a test at two targeted campuses, Michigan and Michigan State, using existing back-to-college events as the backdrop. These events, which have been happening for the past three years, bussed new college students to a nearby store for giveaways, a live DJ and other events designed at introducing the brand to the newly independent students.

With 15 prizes ranging in value from gift cards, tailgating packs, movie-night packs, GoPros and 15-pound hams, the team sent a Snap every 10 minutes of the item that would be given away with instructions on how to participate. More than 10% of the students engaged with the brand on Snapchat and Meijer's Snapchat messages maintained an incredible 100% open rate across the two events.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

To begin a relationship with college students, Meijer's secondary audience, as they are first forming their shopping habits, it was critical that Meijer do something to show this important secondary audience it understands them and their media habits.

When looking at the profile of Meijer's college shoppers, it was evident that they were ravenous Snapchat users, and that were open to receiving Snaps from brands they do business with. The team consulted Snapchat for updated statistics on its user base, which showed nearly 70% of the user base was teens and adults in their early 20's. Additional research also showed 50% of 12 to 24-year-olds report using Snapchat and 77% report using it daily. No other app shows similar youthful penetration and usage statistics.

To introduce Meijer's Snapchat presence to this audience, Meijer and the agency activated as a test at two targeted campuses, Michigan and Michigan State, using existing back-to-college events as the backdrop.

For the night of the two events, the team designed signage drawing attention to the brand's new social platform presence, and constructed a table to serve as its Snapchat "headquarters." With 15 prizes ranging in value from gift cards, tailgating packs, movie-night packs, GoPros and 15-pound hams, the team engaged any nearby students in conversation explaining the Snapchat program. Every 10 minutes, a Snap was sent out with the item that would be given away and instructions on how to participate, whether it was sending back a funny Snap, a Snap with a pun, illustration or video.

What followed was a fast-paced four hours of sending and viewing Snaps of college students roaming the store, interacting with peers and store employees and a whole lot of twerking. Students regularly commented on how "cool" it was that Meijer was engaging on Snapchat, and they wished aloud that the presence would continue throughout the school year. It was encouraging to see such a positive response, and as a result, more engagement touch points were planned throughout the fall months. As the night went on, more Snaps continued to roll in, even when the event was over and students had left. The next morning, the team awoke to "good morning" messages from students, which were often accompanied by less-than-excited faces sitting in 8 a.m. classes.

College-aged students are constantly targeted by marketers trying to reach them where they are online. They are often overloaded by tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook updates. Meijer determined this emerging platform was a strategic way to break through the social media overload. As the first-ever big box retailer to use Snapchat, Meijer and the agency didn't have many other Snapchat brand success stories to study. Meijer took a risk by leading the way for retailers looking to engage fans through this medium.

While it can often take years for brands to master the art of communicating through social media channels, when reflecting on the objectives for this program, it was an unmitigated success. More than 10% of Michigan and Michigan State students engaged with the brand on Snapchat, Meijer received more than 500 Snaps throughout the two nights, messages maintained an incredible 100% open rate across the two events and Meijer received an average of two Snaps per new follower. In a world where Facebook campaigns with 5% organic reach metrics are lauded for their virality, Meijer's seamless entrance into Snapchat resulted in a 100% open rate on all Snaps sent. Since Meijer's program, numerous retail stores have joined. Meijer continues to stay engaged with their new Snapchat friends by experimenting with giveaways and engagement programs, continuing to be a leader on this channel. The focus on narrowing the audience, the method with which students were engaged, and the creative generated ensured the success of this program, which exceeded expectations and objectives.

Media

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Meijer with Axis, a Weber Shandwick agency