Two new advertising partnerships by The Kroger Co. bring the supermarket giant its first integrated media agency of record and “custom radio stations” that will broadcast targeted messages inside its stores.
Kroger yesterday announced New York-based Dentsu Aegis Network as its integrated media agency. Plans call for Dentsu Aegis to form a dedicated team to serve Kroger, called fresh@dentsu, that will handle media planning and buying for Kroger and its family of brands across all media channels, including television, radio, print, out-of-home (OOH), search, social, display, online video and streaming audio. The team also will work with Kroger to assess the Cincinnati-based grocery retailer’s sponsorships.
“Last year, we launched our brand transformation campaign — Fresh for Everyone — bringing our brand strategy to life and celebrating our love of all customers and associates, food-first culture and long history as America’'s favorite grocer," Mandy Rassi, vice president of marketing at Kroger, said in a statement. “Kroger’s selection of an integrated media partner will continue to advance the campaign and uplift our brand, allowing us to connect with our customers in an even more compelling, modern way.”
Fresh@dentsu will be led out of full-service media and creative agency 360i, along with experts from Amplifi, M8, Merkle, MKTG and Posterscope, Kroger and Dentsu Aegis said.
“The fresh@dentsu team stood out to us for their creative ability to think differently about our media planning and buying approach,” commented Kay Vizon, director of media at Kroger. "We live in a hyperconnected world, requiring us to look at this part of our business more holistically — and with greater data — to accelerate growth and engagement. Dentsu’s audience-first approach aligns perfectly with our principle of looking at the total customer to better understand their behaviors and motivators and what really resonates with them, providing us with a continuous competitive advantage.”
Kroger said its Fresh for Everyone branding provides a unifying framework for its communications, changing culture and omnichannel shopping experience, which offers customers in-store, pickup, delivery and ship options for their purchases.
“We’re excited and honored to be partnering with Kroger, a brand that has a rich history and passion for serving its customers,” stated Doug Rozen, chief media officer for 360i. “Kroger is transforming the shopping experience by leveraging unique insights and a renewed brand spirit. Powered by Dentsu’s M1 platform, we look forward to helping Kroger deliver people-based media across all channels and connected to business outcomes that drive growth across its entire footprint.”
Also on Wednesday, Indianapolis-based Vibenomics unveiled a multiyear agreement with Kroger to deploy a custom audio advertising network in more than 2,300 stores.
The location-based “audio out-of-home” advertising and experience company said it plans to expand its Audio OOH Advertising Marketplace across Kroger Co.’s store base and automate the audio ad-buying process to current programmatic standards, enabling users to target customers at the right time depending on weather, local events and other variables. That, in turn, will allow Kroger to enhance its customer experience and give brands another way to connect with shoppers at the point of purchase, Vibenomics said.
“Vibenomics plays an important part in our strategy to help us win with our customers, accelerate innovation in-store and drive success for the brands we carry,” according to Peter Miles-Prouten, senior vice president of partnerships at 84.51°, Kroger’s data analytics subsidiary. “With 11 million households visiting Kroger daily, we’re excited to see audio out-of-home from Vibenomics come to life, offering real, valuable connections with our customers and opportunities for our CPG partners to advertise effectively.”
The companies said the specialized, private audio network is due to start broadcasting inside Kroger’s owned and operated locations on July 20. The audio content will be targeted at millions of unique monthly visitors, and Vibenomics and Kroger will collaborate to determine which categories of advertisers, brands and products to promote and the shopper experience they aim to deliver.
“Our associates and customers are our No. 1 priority at Kroger, and this is a new way for us to reach them with more meaningful content,” explained Cara Pratt, vice president of commercial and product strategy across Kroger’s digital and in-store media business at 84.51°. “It allows us to provide them with up-to-date and timely information on their favorite brands, helping to improve their shopping experience. It also allows our brand partners to reach customers at a pivotal point in the buying process: the shelf.”
Vibenomics said it serves more than 120 advertisers in over 6,000 locations across 49 states, reaching more than 200 million people, with its cloud-based technology, licensed background music library, data integration capabilities, audio experience experts, professional voice talent network. Through plug-and-play mobile tablet devices, Vibenomics broadcasts “hyper-targeted,” in-stream audio advertisements and curated playlists, providing a shopper marketing channel along the path to purchase. A partner program offers retailers a portion of revenue from ads sold by Vibenomics that play in their locations.
“Historically, audio is not seen as a digital out-of-home medium, but we’ve revolutionized how to reach consumers directly at the point-of-sale,” stated Paul Brenner, president of audio OOH and CSO at Vibenomics. “We currently reach 200 million unique people nationwide monthly with a projection to be in over 8,000 convenience and grocery retail outlets by 2021. We’re confident that our technology will continue to align with the rapidly evolving and unique media planning needs of the world’s most sophisticated brands and digital out-of-home buyers.”
Kroger has cited media as a key alternative profit stream under its Restock Kroger strategic plan. The company aims to monetize the vast, rich stores of data amassed from its position as the nation’s largest supermarket operator, with 2,800 stores, vast digital properties, millions of daily transactions and broad technology and analytics capabilities.