A small way to build branding with food trucks

105This weekend, I had the opportunity to go play at a Winter Wonderland, in New York City, in the middle of August.  Thanks to Jaguar and their Chill NY event.  The idea behind the event is to feature the latest models and Jaguar’s dependability in any weather condition with its all wheel drive.  It was a really cool (pun intended) event with a full-size snow globe that blew snow into the chilly air-conditioned space, with professional skaters and a skating rink for kids.  It was Jaguar’s attempt to break out of the traditional mode of marketing (read mass advertising), which has been less and less effective over the years.  This was an attempt to “engage”, to “connect”, to “build rapport with the consumers”.  The industry is currently filled with a slew of buzz words that are supposed to mean the exact opposite of mass advertising.  However, I have always been weary of such attempts.  In this case, Al Ries pointed out in a recent article that it’d “probably attract a lot of younger people who are interested in ice skating, but do not have enough money to afford expensive Jaguar automobiles.”  Having visited the event, I agree with Ries’ conclusion.  While I saw plenty people interested in the featured car (starting at $76K), few I believed would have the means to purchase it.  However, I’m quite certain that the metrics that would be used to measure this event would include numbers like number of attendees, number of press mentions, number of social media mentions, etc.  It could sound impressive, though unlikely any of the above would influence sale. 

Conceptual flaws aside, it was a very well-executed event nevertheless.  There were plenty branded premiums (such as water) that extended the branding well beyond the event.  There were seamless social media tie in, again to extend the reach of the event.  However, what I was most intrigued about was the trend of using food trucks at events such as these. 

111There were two ice-cream trucks at this event, to reinforce the Chill theme.  One truck gave away ice-cream cones and coffee.  The other, CoolHaus, gave away ice-cream sandwiches and water.  The truck did a great job leveraging the branded water to build a billboard of branding on the truck.  Details like this remind people that this free ice-cream sandwich was courtesy of Jaguar.  The water billboard added not incremental cost to the event. 

So, next time, when you invite a food truck to your event, consider what small way can you feature your branding. 

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