Associates are starring in retailer ad campaigns
For the 22nd year, ShopRite associates will be featured on limited-edition Cheerios boxes to recognize their efforts fighting hunger in their local communities.
The campaign in partnership with General Mills encourages customers at checkout to contribute by rounding their grocery purchases up to the nearest dollar. ShopRite will unveil the customized cereal boxes at in-store celebrations during March and April. Two employees from each winning store are featured on the boxes, as well as online, at ShopRite’s EssentialThanks.com website.
Bill Fields, the late former president of Walmart U.S., created waves by featuring associates as well as customers for the first time in Walmart’s advertising circulars in the early ‘80s.
“We thought he was an idiot,” Jan Mauldin, a copy editor in Walmart’s marketing department, said in a profile on Mr. Fields that ran in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal in 1991. “We told him it’d take 15 times as long, shooting with amateurs, not models. It was a logistics nightmare.’”
However, employees lined up for blocks to be featured. Ms. Mauldin said, “Fields’ idea turned out to be a smash.”
Burberry and Lucky Brand were among the fashion brands that used employees in campaigns over the last year as in-person photoshoots became challenging during the pandemic and tighter budgets squeezed out influencers. The campaigns, shot from employees’ homes with a phone camera, weren’t as polished but were a fraction of the cost of traditional campaigns and aligned with the pandemic’s need for authentic storytelling.
Deanna Bedoya, Lucky Brand’s senior director of brand marketing and creative services, told Glossy, “We did a survey on Instagram asking people what they wanted to see from us, and the No. 1 things requested was for us to be real and raw.”
Employees were also likely thrilled to participate.
Michael Kors featured employees rather than celebrity ambassadors for the first time last October in its Watch Hunger Stop campaign. “Casting and photographing our employees for this campaign was very special,” said Michael Kors, honorary chairman, in a statement. “People talked about their pride in working on Watch Hunger Stop over the years, and their eagerness to help those in need.”
- ShopRite Associates Work to End Hunger Together and Earn Spot On Cheerios Cereal Box – ShopRite
- Bentonville native Bill Fields, once considered CEO heir apparent at Walmart, dies at 70 – Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
- Burberry feature its retail workers and staff in new campaign – Fashion United
- Featuring employees in brand marketing is resonating with consumers – Glossy
- Fashion brands are featuring their employees in campaigns – Fashion United
- Michael Kors Celebrates The Spirit Of Community With New Employee-Led Campaign – Michael Kors/PRNewswire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see significantly more advantages in using employees to support campaigns over models, influencers and celebrities? What campaigns are appropriate for featuring employees? What are the shortcomings?