Peapod, a division of Ahold USA, is rolling out a promotional campaign featuring digital billboards on the sides of delivery trucks where consumers can shop for groceries using their smartphones. The tour will reach ballparks, concert venues, local rec centers, and coffee shops in five major cities along the East Coast, as well as Chicago.
The tour follows up on the internet grocer's debut of such scan-and-shop billboards last fall at more than 100 commuter rail stations across its 24 U.S. markets. Much like the train stations, users scan a QR code to download the PeapodMobile app to their smartphones and then scan other QR codes to shop for a select number of items. Participating brands include Barilla, Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser.
If the order is not complete, users can continue making selections online. Home deliveries can be scheduled for the next day or whenever specified.
Besides the truck, the tour also features a Chevy Spark "cart-car" outfitted with elevated handlebars at the rear that resemble a grocery shopping cart.
"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," Peapod COO Mike Brennan said in a statement. "This go-round, we're exploring new, hyper-local platforms to communicate our convenience message of 'Shop Anywhere, Anytime with Peapod.'"
The trucks will travel to Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Boston and New York, including reaching many professional baseball parks. Other planned stops include Café Benvenuto in midtown Manhattan, the Boston Pops 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular and Bon Jovi, One Direction and Justin Timberlake concerts in Chicago. Popular tourist attractions and well-traveled thoroughfares will also be included.
The campaign also features coffee-cup sleeves with scannable product at 7-Elevens and other local delis. And "human billboards" will hand out 10,000 t-shirts via radio partnerships across participating cities.
FreshDirect, which competes with Peapod in the New York Metro market, plays up its dedication to freshness and convenience in its campaigns. In launching into its second market, Philadelphia, last October, an eight-page direct mailer, entitled, "Turn grocery shopping into a ZEN-like experience," railed against the long lines and poor quality of items at local supermarkets, according to Direct Marketing News. Similar to its launch in New York City, it also offered a blowout trial offer: $50 off each of two initial orders of $125 or more.
How effective do you think Peapod's tour will be in encouraging trial of its online grocery service?