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The holidays may be over, but marketing campaigns to reach new customers aren’t over just because the decorations are down.
In January, many people seek to kickstart healthy habits and self-improvement for the new year. Brands are looking to meet customers on this journey, while offering perks and some new content along the way.
Below we take a look at five fresh January marketing campaigns putting wellness at the center of their pitch, and offer a few thoughts on how they’re taking an opportunity to debut new experiences at the same time.
Here’s a look:
Equinox: ‘We don’t speak January.’
\u201cIt\u2019s not you, it\u2019s January. #ItsNotFitnessItsLife\u201d— Equinox (@Equinox) 1672581894
The New Year brings resolutions, and that in turn leads to a flurry of new faces at gyms around the country.
But this year, Equinox made a bold choice to temporarily stop taking any new members at the start of the year. More than a policy, this became a statement about January in its own right. Under the heading, “We don’t speak January,” the luxury fitness club temporarily stopped taking new members on New Year’s Day. It described why this way:
“January is a language we don’t understand. A fantasy, delivered to your door in a pastel colored box. It talks about change. It wants you to start something when you should be in the middle of it. It thinks time is on its side. It needs a new outfit before it can begin. Stalling, short-cutting, giving up.”
The policy and accompanying marketing generated controversy on social media, propelling the conversation about it well past the New Year’s Day pause. Equinox President Scott DeRue told Yahoo Finance that the company was taking on the entire marketing complex of January “gimmicks” and “fads,” and making a statement that wellness is about “long-term commitments.”
Sweetgreen: ‘Green January’ rewards
Melissa Wood-Tepperberg. (Courtesy of Sweetgreen)
Sweetgreen is looking to encourage “small, healthy” habits in the new year. The fast casual salad chain unveiled a rewards program through its website and app to start 2023. It also has a partnership with Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, founder of Melissa Wood Health, to create a new bowl and offer a free subscription as part of the rewards offering.
The January campaign offers Sweetgreen with the opportunity to take its rewards program wider. It piloted the app-based program over the summer. Centered on healthy habits, the goal is “to drive customer frequency and restaurant volume through additional customer value and engagement.”
Martha Stewart + Tito’s: DIY January
January is famous for Dry January commitments, in which people take a break from alcohol after indulging over the holidays. While this could be read as a trouble spot for alcohol industry sales, vodka brand Tito’s chose to take a playful approach that joined in on the event.
Tito’s is running a campaign with Martha Stewart that turns Dry January into DIY January. In a 60 second ad, the Living legend demonstrates ways to use Tito’s that don’t involve taking a sip, such as cleaning, shining shoes, tenderizing meat or steaming lobsters. If signing on Martha Stewart wasn't enough, Tito’s proved it was committed to the bit by launching bottle toppers for the uses illustrated in the ad, NBC’s Today reports.
The toppers may not become best sellers, but Tito’s is taking a tongue in cheek approach that shows it is meeting customers where they are at this moment, even if that means less vodka flowing this month. Tito’s is playing the long game: Show up during the slow months, and there’s an increased chance that customers will remember when they’re ready to pick back up again.
Partnership: One Brands + XPonential+ streaming fitness
There’s no better way to start the new year than making new connections. That’s on view in a partnership between protein bar One Brands and on-demand fitness platform XPonential+. By purchasing a four-pack of One protein bars from a retail location, customers can receive access to a six-month subscription of the platform, which has content from Club Pilates, YogaSix and CycleBar. Even the purchase of a single bar results in a two-month subscription.
It shows how like-minded brands can join forces. For people interested in wellness, nutrition and fitness go hand-in-hand. By offering a subscription, XPonential+ stands to offer a taste of its offerings to a wider audience that consumes the Hershey-owned brand’s products.
Chipotle: Wellness-inspired Snapchat lens
Chipotle's Lifestyle Bowls. (Courtesy photo)
Fast casual chain Chipotle rolled out a new lineup of Lifestyle Bowls to start 2023. Taking a step beyond encouraging healthy eating through menu choices, Chipotle is also debuting an augmented reality lens through Snapchat. The lens offers exercises and meditation prompts to help people keep up their healthy habits. Launching on Quitter’s Day of Jan. 13, Chipotle said it’s the first time a restaurant brand is promoting physical activity through Snapchat. Chipotle is also offering rewards: 100,000 people who participate (10K a day from Jan. 13-23) will receive free guac.
It shows how complementary content can help to encourage and inspire customers, and create a full experience around a new launch that goes beyond promoting new items. At the same time, Chipotle is using augmented reality technology to reach customers on a platform where many already turn in a way that goes beyond advertising. Make content useful, and people will have a reason to view it, and come back.
Trending in Marketing
New advertising opportunities are being beta tested for in-store audio and product demos.
Retail media’s fast growth isn’t only limited to increasing spend. The advertising itself is also poised to appear in more places beyond ecommerce marketplaces, and even beyond the web.
The latest example comes from Walmart Connect, which is the retail media arm of the world’s largest retailer.
Walmart shared details on testing that it is completing for in-store retail media. To this point, Walmart Connect has been considered the advertising platform for Walmart’s ecommerce site. But these tests indicate that’s poised to expand.
Stores present a potent opportunity for Walmart. It has 4,700 big box locations around the U.S., and customers returned to them in droves last year. In 2022, 88% of the retailer’s customers visited Walmart stores.
Walmart Connect already has already dipped a toe into in-store advertising, with a TV wall, self-checkout ads and integrated marketing. The new pilots aim to take a step further.
“The next frontier of retail media is in-store experiences, and it’s one we’re excited to chart,” Whitney Cooper, head of omnichannel transformation at Walmart Connect, wrote in a blog post on the new tests. “But it’s still an emerging opportunity for us, as we continue to test what serves customers best and which solutions are scalable to Walmart’s size.”
Here’s a look at the two new offerings currently under beta test:
Walmart suppliers will be able to integrate product demos into campaigns across in-store and digital environments.
Product demos aren’t new to store floors, but Walmart Connect is seeking to give them an update that blends digital and physical experiences.
“Part of our test is how to enhance the omnichannel experience by bridging the physical back to digital: For example, by pairing a demo cart with QR codes that link back to a curated Walmart.com landing page so customers can find inspiration and shop their list all in one spot,” Cooper wrote.
Walmart is currently offering 120 demos at stores each weekend, and plans to scale to 1,000 by the end of 2023.
Walmart Connect will now offer advertising placements on Walmart’s in-store radio network. Suppliers will have the option to purchase ads by region or store, enabling targeting of key markets.
“This is the first time brands will be able to speak directly to Walmart customers through this medium,” Cooper writes. “These ads also create a new upper-funnel touchpoint for brand marketers and out-of-home (OOH) buyers to create awareness, because in-store audio is about connecting with customers wherever they are in the store — they don’t have to pass the brand in the aisle.”
With the tests, we’ll be watching for how this advertising is measured, and whether Walmart Connect is tracking impact across different types of formats, and not just a single campaign.