The Pantry recruits NC colleges for Bean Street Coffee

The Pantry operates Kangaroo Express convenience stores in 13 states. Last summer, a "Fresh Initiative" launched that emphasizes a shift to fresh food products, including a re-launch of Bean Street Coffee.

Client: The Pantry (Cary, NC)
Agency:
Largemouth Communications (Durham, NC)
Campaign:
The Battle for Bean Street
Duration:
November 2010 -- March 2011
Budget: about $30,000 for PR

The Pantry operates Kangaroo Express convenience stores in 13 states. Last summer, a “Fresh Initiative” launched that emphasizes a shift to fresh food products, including a re-launch of Bean Street Coffee. The company and AOR Largemouth Communications devised “The Battle for Bean Street” to drive brand awareness and coffee sales in the Raleigh Durham market by leveraging college basketball rivalries among University of North Carolina (UNC), N.C. State University (NCSU), and Duke University.

“Industry data shows convenience store customers attract most favorably to college sports,” explains Dave Henninger, The Pantry's VP of marketing. “We needed a hook to capture the imagination of basketball fans.”

Strategy

Each school's logo was printed on coffee cups. The school that sold the most cups by March 31 won $20,000 for its chosen charity. The others won $5,000 each for their designated charities.

Community and in-store events, media relations, social media outreach, a website, student-led initiatives, in-store marketing, and ads drove participation.

Tactics

The competition kicked off November 15. Media relations focused on local outlets.

Athletes made in-store appearances in February, autographing cups, promoting the charities, and posing for customer photos. Photos and personal stories were posted on Facebook and Twitter.

At a March 11 event, “B-Ball on Bean Street by Mentos,” an ACC Conference Tournament game was broadcast on large screens in an outdoor plaza in downtown Raleigh. Other activities included a free throw competition with media personalities.

Battleforbeanstreet.com tracked each school's progress with weekly updates and a map showing the leading school in each store. Videos of students discussing the charities, weekly updates, and ads were also posted on YouTube.

Henninger notes UNC student representatives included communications majors, who drove the campaign exceptionally well. Student-led initiatives included NCSU students painting a “Free Expression Tunnel” on their campus to raise awareness of the competition and rally support for their charity.

Results

Henninger says the campaign far exceeded expectations. Coffee sales increased more than 50% January to March compared to the same time last year. Nearly 125,000 logo cups were sold, and UNC won the competition. Overall, both store traffic and sales are up about 8% compared to last year.

President and CEO Largemouth Communications Brandon Bryce reports more than 31 million media impressions, including coverage in The New York Times.

The campaign drew about 700 Facebook fans and more than 170,000 post views. The website got 11,371 visits. YouTube videos garnered about 2,400 views.

Future

The team is working on a number of cause-related programs, including a “Summer Salute to our Troops” program.

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