Few grocery stores are as drastically different than ALDI and Whole Foods. The former is known for its discount prices and the latter is practically synonymous with the terms “high-end” and “organic.” In the following case study, we’ll examine how both execute Easter influencer marketing campaigns to serve differing business goals.
The National Retail Federation projected that American Easter spending would amount to $18.2 billion in 2018, or $150 a person. Sustenance, whether chocolate bunnies or glazed ham, is a cornerstone of the holiday. Of the money Americans spend on Easter, the largest portion is dedicated to food, roughly $5.7 billion.
As such, the holiday presents an excellent advertising opportunity to food suppliers. Grocery stores are especially poised to benefit from Easter marketing because more than half of Americans (58%) prepare Easter dinner instead of eating out.
The German supermarket chain ALDI is best known for its discount prices and no-frills shopping. The global retailer plans to expand to 2,500 U.S. stores by 2022 and serve 100 million customers a month.
With its expansion, the company is emphasizing that its low prices don’t equate to low-quality food. ALDI CEO Jason Hart says the company’s focus is on, “…giving customers what they want, which is more organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and fresh healthier options across the store, all at unmatched prices up to 50 percent lower than traditional grocery stores.”
To promote its discount prices and high-quality ingredients ALDI took advantage of Easter, a holiday characterized by delicious food whether in the form of ham, lamb, or sweets. By way of influencer marketing the grocer skillfully presented its Easter offerings as equal to the quality of non-discount stores, but a cut above the rest because of its affordable prices.
To do so, ALDI partnered with five top food bloggers to create a unique recipe focused campaign. Each influencer created one sponsored blog post featuring an Easter recipe, accompanied by one to two sponsored Instagram posts.
The Easter campaign dovetailed with the brand’s overarching #ALDILove marketing initiative, making for highly discoverable Instagram content. From smoked gouda biscuits to a cheese plate, the recipes featured ingredients often thought to be expensive — driving home ALDI’s advantage over other grocery chains.
Food blogger Lindsay Ostrom (@pinchofyum) was the largest influencer involved in the campaign with 581,000 followers. To showcase ALDI’s product offerings Ostrom prepared a ham, egg, and cheese brunch recipe via one sponsored blog post and two sponsored Instagram posts.
Ostrom’s sponsored content fulfills the primary purpose of informing consumers that they can shop affordably at ALDI without settling for lesser quality ingredients. In the blog post, Ostrom says, “I love ALDI eggs – lovely organic cage free large brown eggs that do not cost your life savings,” drawing attention to both ALDI’s low prices and organic offerings.
Similarly, in the captions of both Instagram posts she explicitly uses the phrase “organic brown eggs,” to let followers know that ALDI offers organic eggs as opposed to generic “eggs.”
Secondarily, the recipe itself showcases ALDI’s food as perfect for quick, easy-to-follow recipes. A consumer looking for easy-to-prepare meals is also likely in search of an efficient and affordable shopping experience. Therefore, the recipe appeals to ALDI’s ideal demographic.
Ostrom accentuates the easy-to-follow nature of the recipe in her second Instagram post by preparing it from start to finish in a 45-second long video. The short clip is not only enticing, its short duration makes it a quick, digestible watch. The short watch time increases shareability and gives audiences an easy and delicious Easter recipe.
Similar to Ostrom, Adrianna Adarme (@cozykitchen) uses the same step-by-step video format and accompanying blog post to feature ALDI’s product offerings in the context of an Easter recipe. Instead of brunch cups, she teaches her 214,000 followers to prepare smoked gouda black pepper biscuits with spiral sliced ham.
While Ostrom showcases ALDI’s food as organic and easy to prepare, Adarme doubles down on emphasizing ALDI as ideal for the inexperienced cook. In the blog post she says, “I’m going to be very honest and tell you I’ve never made ham before. It couldn’t have been easier. You just stick in the oven for a few hours, add some glaze in the last 30 minutes of baking, which I doctored up to have some spices like ginger and cinnamon, and that’s really it.”
This explicit focus on easy preparation and efficiency is likely to appeal to ALDI customers.
Furthermore, Adarme is a food blogger especially known for her pastries. In unsponsored content, she has prepared mojito cupcakes and honey scones. By making biscuits from scratch in partnership with ALDI she sticks to the content and formats her audience expects and loves.
Dubbed America’s healthiest grocery store, Whole Foods is positioned on the opposite end of the spectrum within the public’s consciousness. Though it has 479 U.S. locations to ALDI’s soon to be 2,500, it generates upwards of $15 million in revenue a year.
Unlike ALDI the brand doesn’t need to inform consumers that it offers high-quality organic food; high-quality ingredients are its claim to fame. The grocer is therefore faced with a different problem: How does it let consumers know that its high-quality food and products aren’t just for the expert home chef?
At first glance, Whole Foods looks like a perfect fit for an Easter influencer campaign celebrating the high-quality ingredients and time-intensive process characteristic of preparing Easter dinner. However, the brand chose to go in the different direction and showcased its pre-prepared Easter offerings available for order and pick up in store.
By featuring its order and pick up service, the campaign appeals to a unique subset of consumers who don’t necessarily have the time or experience to prepare highly-involved meals. To reach this unique demographic, Whole Foods partnered with influencers who reflect the same group.
In accordance with its campaign goals, Whole Foods partnered with seven influencers (one macro, six micro) who each created one Instagram post promoting its pick up Easter menu. Notably, none of the influencers created a separate recipe blog like for ALDI’s campaign because of the specific subset of Whole Foods’ business being advertised.
Micro food influencer Erin Druga (@thealmondeater) was one of the campaign’s top performers. In a photo, she showcases a mouthwatering Easter table spread that looks like it’s taken hours to prepare. Within the photo’s caption she surprises followers by exclaiming, “Believe it or not, ALL of this food was conveniently ordered from @wholefoods and guys, everything was so delicious.”
Looking exclusively at the image, audiences might assume that Druga will be teaching followers how to prepare Easter dinner from scratch with all the fixings. The caption serves to pleasantly shock viewers and raise awareness exclusively of Whole Foods’ order and pick up service.
The post also fits in well with Druga’s Instagram feed. She regularly features advanced recipes like caramelized banana shortcakes and chorizo mango pizza. The elegant Easter spread is what her audience expects, doubling the effect of the unexpected caption reveal.
One of the smallest influencers in the campaign, Melanie Bauer (@melaniemakes) published a similar photo to Druga—a beautiful Easter dinner spread made possible by Whole Foods’ order and pick up service. The mother of four appeals to her audience, likely in the same demographic, by positioning the service as an indispensable tool for any busy parent.
In the caption of the multi-image post she says, “We’ve celebrated four birthdays in our family in the last four weeks and this mama is exhausted. Birthday number five, my husband’s, is just around the corner. On Easter, no less. I’ve decided I’m ready for someone else to do the heavy lifting on this double holiday in our house. Enter @wholefoods.”
Together the caption and multiple accompanying images demonstrate to audiences that a Whole Foods Easter can be just as presentable and delicious as one prepared from scratch.
Within the caption Bauer also provides a link to Whole Foods’ order and pick up web page, helping to drive web traffic and purchases.