The Pantry operated Kangaroo Express convenience stores in 13 states but was once perceived as “just” a gas station while the stores, which operated under multiple brand names, lacked recognition. As stores were rebranded with the Kangaroo Express banner starting in the test market of the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, The Battle for Bean Street campaign was launched to better define and reposition the brand. The campaign also supported The Pantry's strategic shift to provide on-the-go meals and snacks, including the introduction of fresh foods and a re-launch of its signature Bean Street Coffee. The initiative represented a transformation in the way the company connects with its customers.
The Battle for Bean Street leveraged the passionate ACC basketball rivalries between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Duke University – all located within the Battle’s core market. Each university competed on behalf of its designated charity for $30,000 in donations from The Pantry. The winner received $20,000 and the other two each received $5,000.
The Battle for Bean Street campaign leveraged the university and charity partnerships to build relationships with Kangaroo Express customers through marketing, public relations and social media. This helped to successfully rally customers to support the causes behind each of the universities, thus driving fans to stores to experience a “refreshed” shopping experience and purchase coffee in cups with their school logo, which counted as a vote for the university and its charity. Largemouth Communications helped develop tactics for multi-tiered community engagement, including student-led initiatives at each of the universities, appearances and endorsements from basketball greats of previous seasons, and online connections via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the campaign website www.battleforbeanstreet.com.
Special events generated media coverage and excitement in the trade area, including celebrity appearances by well-recognized names in Duke, NC State and UNC basketball. By setting up book and autograph signings at campus Kangaroo Express stores, Largemouth positioned the convenience store as more than “just” a gas station. A block party was also held to celebrate the ACC Conference Tournament, with games televised on large screens in downtown Raleigh and a celebrity free-throw tournament with local television and radio personalities.
The campaign generated widespread print and broadcast coverage with more than 31 million local market media impressions and recognition by leading national media, including feature stories by The New York Times and PR Week.
Kangaroo Express stores experienced improved sales performance during the campaign with measurable results in coffee transactions that reflected positive “up-selling” trends. Coffee sales increased more than 50 percent from January to March compared to the same time last year. Nearly 125,000 logo cups were sold. Overall, both store traffic and sales rose about eight percent over the preceding year.