Food and Board

Edible billboards offer branded experiences

Eighty percent of companies plan to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 to 18 months, according to a study released earlier this year. While digital persists as the central venue for brands looking to connect with Millennials, experiential efforts are still important, as they provide compelling shareable content among consumers. Lately, food, beverage and alcohol brands are creating billboards that boast built-in samples.

042115-1Carlsberg: The first of a year-long campaign of stunts intended to spark social buzz around Carlsberg’s attempt to win over younger (legal) drinkers, the beer brand last month erected an oversized poster that dispensed free suds in trendy East London. The billboard, emblazoned with the line “Probably the best poster in the world,” flaunted a tap from which of-age passersby—attendants were on-site to check IDs—could help themselves to a sidewalk pint. Streetside imbibers were limited to one glass/person, but that didn’t stop anyone from hanging out, with many taking the time to post about the unexpected mid-day brew on social media.

042115-2Coke Zero: Last month Coke Zero underscored its ability to innovate in the sporting event sponsorship space when it installed a “drinkable billboard” at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis’ White River State Park. The marketing novelty dispensed soda through a 4,500-foot straw, the spirals of which formed the words “Taste It,” into a sampling area with six fountains for basketball fans to try the low-calorie soda. Tying it to the sport at hand, Coke reported that the billboard ran on enough compressed air to fill all the basketballs used during the March Madness tournament.

042115-3Mr. Kipling: Free cone days have become a popular marketing stunt among ice cream purveyors, as evidenced by the lines snaking out of Häagen-Dazs last week. Mr. Kipling, a British baked goods company, offered consumers similar just desserts this past fall, though in a more unexpected manner. Indeed, the company created a billboard made entirely of cake and icing, which was distributed to passersby at the Westfield shopping center where it was installed. Constructed of 13k+ cakes and overseen by sugar artist Michelle Wibowo, the billboard successfully demonstrated the brand’s tagline, “Life is better with cake.”