Client: Mac's Convenience Stores & Circle K
Marketing Manager: Hina Mian
Advertising Agency: Giants & Gentlemen
Media Agency: Media Experts
Creative Director: Alanna Nathanson
Creative Director: Natalie Armata
Art Director: Jordan Heidendahl
Art Director: JP Spanbauer
Photographer: Jason Florentino
Studio Manager: Sean Lawrence
Retouching Artist: Stephen Cribben
Chief Strategy Officer: Gino Cantalini
VP, Head of Client Services: Steve Waugh
Account Director: Julie Weirzbicki
Account Manager: Ally Dwyer-Joyce
Account Manager: Carlyn Anderson
Copywriter: Brandon Tralman-Baker
|Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):||2012 - 2016|
|Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: ||May 2, 2016|
|Base Period as a Benchmark: ||2012 - 2015|
|Geographic Area: ||Canada, English only.|
|Budget for this effort: ||$500,000 - $1 million|
BrainfreezeTM. We were up against a behemoth. 7-11’s Slurpee is so iconic, that the brand trademarked a verb that is now part of the global lexicon. Enter Mac’s Froster: an icy cold drink that has been refreshing Canadians across the country. While available year round, the Froster is (not surprisingly) a bigger seller in the summer and is further supported by Mac’s annual under-the-brim Flip the Lip contest for a chance for Froster drinkers to win instant prizes.
To increase sales among our 17-year-old male target group, we proposed engaging them on an emerging (at the time) social media platform they were spending increasingly more time on: Snapchat. To that end, we developed one of Canada’s first branded Snapchat filters to help introduce our target to the Froster, so when they’re kickin’ it with their friends and rolling in their parents’ minivan to the local strip mall, they know exactly what they want to quench their thirst.
We used a previously untapped medium to drive an unprecedented increase in Mac’s Frosters sales of 40% – four times our targeted goal of 10%.
Founded in 1961, Mac’s Convenience stores have served countless Canadians in hundreds of communities throughout Ontario and Western Canada. In the 70s, they were Mac’s Milk. They acquired Mike’s Mart in the 80s, Becker’s in the 90s and were purchased by Alimentation Couche-Tard in 1999 to become Canada’s largest national convenience store network. They built their reputation on offering convenience and efficiency, and by constantly evolving their product offerings and services to meet the changing wants and desires of their consumers.
However, the introduction of 7/11 to Canadian markets in 1969 marked the emergence of the American convenience store juggernaut as their main competition, a heated duel for the hearts and tongues of consumers that still persists to this day.
As strong as the Mac’s Brand is in Canada, the Mac’s Froster lives in the global brand shadow of the Slurpee, which was introduced more than 50 years ago. If Canadians want a frozen drink, we don’t want them to automatically think of a Slurpee. Our challenge was to make a Froster more than just a drink; we needed to make a Froster an experience.
Our objective was to bring awareness to the Froster by making it an experience, and bringing it out of the shadow of 7/11’s Slurpee. We wanted Froster to be the first thing teens think of when they need to quench their thirst, and for this change in attitude to be reflected in a 10% increase in Froster sales.
Our strategy was very specific to our target. Teenage males are skeptical of, well, pretty much everything. Our approach needed to be specific to our 17-year-old male target, who are typically conscious of the clothes they wear, the music they listen to, the friends they hang with and what they hold in their hands. Teens are also in the critical stages of establishing their independence and standing out as unique through the things they do and brands they interact with.
Our insight was that the Froster brand is just as unique, weird and in-the-moment as our target group, so let’s leverage this badge-value through an in-the-moment platform they are already interacting with: Snapchat.
We let young Canadians “Frosterize your face” with custom Snapchat filters; among the first of their kind in Canada. We brought the campaign to life by creating wacky and weird characters that personified the popular Mac’s Froster flavours, and gave users the ability to turn into those flavours on Snapchat.
Historically, Mac’s Convenience has relied on radio advertising to attract customers, the thinking being that Froster or confection purchases are unplanned and in-the-moment, brought on by a sugar craving or passing by a convenience store. But our bullseye target is 17-year-old males – many of whom don’t even drive, let alone have their own car, so radio would have to act more as air cover and an awareness driver. They live on their smartphones, and there’s nothing cooler than Snapchat.
We saw an opportunity to connect with those teens in a new way that was very targeted to this niche Froster audience, and on a platform that (at the time) had barely been leveraged by a brand in Canada. For teens that spend every waking moment on their smartphones, there’s nothing cooler than Snapchat. Consequently, “Frosterize your face” on Snapchat was born.
Our target was skeptical, but impressionable. We knew that to attain Froster sales, we couldn’t connect with them with just a transactional message in mediums like radio or OOH. Yes, we knew we could have an influence on them, but we also understood that these teenage males needed to do things on their own terms. This is why the idea of an experience was critical and what led us to using Snapchat – we served up our branded experience for them to engage with Mac’s Froster in a way that made sense to them. This engagement was done on a hot day (thirsty anyone?) and also geo-targeted so we could quench this thirst nearby. Our branded Snapchat experience was literally only one step removed from point of purchase. We threw the old idea of awareness to interest to desire to action out the window and went straight to action.
We teased the Snapchat release date with posters that depicted the Froster flavours users could potentially turn into. To complete the Froster experience, this initiative was supported by :30 radio spots, interior bus posters, social posts, in-store POP and store clerk T-shirts from May 23 to September 5, 2016. This meant that before teens even made it to a Mac’s to make their own wacky flavor, they’d already had a wacky brand experience.
Our target market really took to our filters, with Mac’s registering strong engagement metrics during the “Frosterize your face” campaign. Consumers had 11,839,957 interactions on Snapchat, which is double their benchmark for a filter takeover. Froster sales grew by 40% across 850 locations nation wide, and versus the year previous, Froster Flip the Lip contest entries nearly doubled – they grew by a staggering 91%. Suffice to say, our campaign led to an increased willingness to engage with Froster content.
Sales were up by 40% and summer 2016 was the best sales period for Froster in the last five years, significantly higher than both our initial goal, and previous sales benchmarks.
The Strawberry Lemonade flavour sold out – the first time a flavour has sold out in Mac’s history.
40% growth in sales.
We achieved significant results without a meaningful change in pricing or distribution. Our budget was similar to previous promotional ventures, but the Snapchat promotion ushered in an unprecedented increase in sales – well exceeding our goals and previous benchmarks set by other Mac’s promotions. This also correlates with the massive increase in engagement, which demonstrates the positive impact of the campaign in market.
Sales were up by 40% and summer 2016 was the best sales period for Froster in the last five years. The Strawberry Lemonade flavor even sold out. Of course the sales numbers are the ultimate metric, but Mac’s also had strong engagement metrics during the “Frosterize your face” campaign. Consumers had 11,839,957 interactions on Snapchat, which is double their benchmark for a filter takeover. And versus the year previous, Froster Flip the Lip contest entries nearly doubled – they grew by a staggering 91%.
Campaign spend vs. history and competition:
During the Snapchat promotional campaign, Mac’s did not expand into any new markets, introduce new products, increase the promotional budget beyond the historical norm, or alter the pricing and distribution/availability.
Pre-existing Brand momentum:
Similar marketing activity to previous years.
No significant change in pricing.
Changes in Distribution/Availability:
No significant change in distribution.
Unusual Promotional Activity:
Any other factors: