Experiential Events: Food & Drink Sampling

Food _Sampling

With experiential sampling now an important part of the marketing mix, we have written this handy little blog to share some of our expertise when it comes to food and drink sampling.


We were recently asked: 

Q. Where can you do sampling and what are the limits on locations?  
Q. How do you measure the effectiveness of the sampling activity, was the planning worth it? 


Experiential marketers are constantly searching for new sampling opportunities, a yet to be discovered gem in what can sometimes be an already saturated market place. 
While not a futile course of action, the majority of experiential locations have extensive history with either food or drink brands engaging in sampling activation.
These include; events, festivals, shopping malls, offices, train stations, schools, cinema, town centres, parks, beaches, sporting grounds, airports, universities, retail.

What are the limitations?

The following, by no means exhaustive, illustrate key limitations (and considerations) when formulating food sampling strategy:

As a commercial source of income, brands can be charged a range of site fees for sampling. Charged per day, for a more prestigious site space these costs can represent a large proportion of a budget.

Brand fit
Are we adhering to the venues positioning? Is the brand, its respective attributes and campaign in keeping with the venues ambitions?

Venue restrictions 
More often than not venues impose sample size restrictions due to existing concessions i.e. shopping malls have food courts/restaurants.

Too many times, we’ve witnessed a brand sampling; purely on what appears to be the only rationale: a high footfall. There is a common sense approach, whereby you need to analyse the message, consumer and interaction against the location. i.e. Sampling cereals at a train station in the evening rush hour will not be conducive for a quality interaction, as a consumers mind set is focused on getting home / social engagements; evening dinner, a glass of wine…
Exaggerated data – this is rare, but on occasions, venues (rather sales divisions) can sometimes amplify their positive attributes to a brand to favour their venue over another. It is vital to have detailed experience to ensure you’ll maximise your potential and you’ve chosen correctly.

This needs to be mutually agreed post defining the business, brand and campaign objectives: from here a tailored approach to analyse the following attributes:

  • Metric deliverables: Number of interactions / samples 
  • Sales 
  • Redemption 
  • Vox pops
  • Traffic driven on line 
  • Word of mouth / advocacy 
  • Bespoke research models to measure brand perception/ buying habits
Planning worth it?

As with all things experiential, planning is essential to maximise the results against a client’s objectives.Strategic planning at the beginning: dissecting a brief, understanding the objectives and the consumer will enable you to generate your insight into delivering the right solutions: the creative route, the mechanic, where, how etc.

However, this is then underpinned with a calculated plan to realise these ambitions:

At LIVE we have developed an internal planning system that ensures all our account handlers systematically adhere to planning for all campaigns. 

This is a proven methodology that has ensured our success to date, with one of our clients, Katrina Farmer, Brand Manager for Kallo Food’s Rice Dream stating:

Working with LIVE is a breath of fresh air, their knowledge and insight in what is right for our brand and consumers, fuelled with meticulous planning & delivery have surpassed our objectives this year and we’re planning next year already.”  

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