• Summer sampling - experiential marketing


If you could do with some rays of sunshine in your life amidst 2020’s event cancellations and home isolation, here are this years’ TOP TEN strongest options of where you can still dream of taking your brand on tour to effectively engage new audiences, as soon as the restrictions are lifted! 



It’s ironic that while this year’s London Marathon was cancelled, there are now more running enthusiasts who have had the time to train for running it than ever before!  This means that when the sanctions are lifted, every competitive athletic event will be mobbed with participants keen to see how the time they spent away from their offices has converted to new personal best records.

You can pick events to suit your audience: 5k fun runs for entry level, 10k and tough-mudders for fitness enthusiasts or full marathons for the really dedicated. If you want to bank on some big scale events that deliver on reach and budget, The Great North Run, The Great Manchester Run and London Rough Runner events are all ideally suited.

Our Photo Archive Example: Kellogg’s Special K Protein cereals and snack bars created an interactive sampling experience where race participants celebrated their victory with a fun photo moment experience, which was amplified across both their own and the brand’s social media channels.

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


With international travel still making some people nervous, the UK’s biggest and best seaside airshows that are scheduled during August and September are still on track to amaze and delight the hundreds of thousands of families who attend each of them.

Reaching upwards of 200,000 event goers from miles around during normal years, these events will offer even greater value for their already affordable event space. They are perfect for experiential activities such as sampling, fun family games, social media and direct sales too.

Your 2020 wish list can still include the annual airshow highlights of Clacton and Southport for fast jets, with Bristol offering the largest scale of the Hot Air Balloon Fiestas too.

Our Photo Archive Example: Yorkshire Tea toured a converted traditional British ice cream van which served thousands of cups of properly brewed tea, alongside some fun mug and tea biscuit shaped mascots across a range of airshows and events to engage British families.

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


After months of closure, once the UK theme parks re-open you can safely predict huge audiences of up to 30,000 thrill seekers every day during summer. The selection of parks can be aligned to suit both your core demographic and budget to extend the coverage on peak days during the peak season.

The main parks all offer busy event spaces at their main exit points, enabling your brand to reach people before they make their journey home. This provides an ideal time for focussed engagement away from the screams of the rides and also the opportunity for presenting something the recipients can focus on and enjoy when back in their cars.

The biggest national reach parks include Alton Towers, Chessington, Dayton Manor and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. There are also plenty of parks for engaging audiences with younger families like Peppa Pig World, CBeebies Land and Lego Land too.

Our Photo Archive Example: Primula Cheese attracted thousands of children and their families to join the Nibbles Kids’ Club across to theme parks, with a fun and engaging catering experience to show off a range of family friendly recipe ideas, alongside children’s face painting, cheese shaped climbing frames and cute Mr & Mrs Nibbles mice mascots!    

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


With so many retailers on the back foot following closure during Q2 of 2020, the summer sales are going to be huge! Shopping malls across the UK will be ideally positioned to provide access to thousands of interested consumers, keen to take a break from their bargain hunting.

There are options for venues to suit all budgets and target audiences too: For those who want huge audience reach upwards of 100,000 people per day, the likes of Stratford’s Westfield and Manchsster’s Trafford Centre are hard to beat.  For those on a more modest budget, you are better off considering busy malls in smaller towns, which provide great reach, for a fraction of the budget. Plenty to pick from, such as Milton Keynes’ Centre MK which hosts a giant indoor beach play area for families each summer.

Our Photo Archive Example: Epson 3D Home Cinema Projectors used an experiential marketing tour to create an immersive brand experience for shoppers where they could get a thrill from the life like 3D effects; and have the opportunity to purchase immediately after.

Epson brand experience shopping mall roadshow


In what has been the most turbulent of times, the retail landscape has been shaken far from where it previously was. To bring your brand to life above being a digit on a spread sheet and secure your brand’s position on shelf you can take you brand experience directly to the retailers’ buying teams and VIPs who decide which brands stay and which go.

All of the major retailer head offices permit large scale sampling event days. Your pop-up brand experience can be set up in front of their key buildings where the buyers can be found (like Pear and Checkout buildings at Tesco HQ) or inside of their main entrance atriums (like Sainsburys at 33 Holborn).

Put on a tasty spread to show off your listed range alongside your latest NPD too. Fun games add the opportunity for emotional engagement and memorable banter in what is otherwise a dry corporate environment. Add in data capture for wider lead development and social media for public broadcasting across their corporate platforms too.

Our Photo Archive Example:  Leading French bakery brand Brioche Pasquier brought in a vintage style bakery van and sampling experience to their key retail stockist Tesco to offer a delicious range of brunch and lunches, alongside a fun social media selfie area which helped them share their attendance widely to Tesco’s corporate audiences on LinkedIn.

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


If you want to show off your culinary credentials, food festivals offer an ideal opportunity to engage with like minded foodies. They are ideal to demonstrate your recipes, cook up and sample tempting tasters, enlist followers for social media and sell direct to the public too.

While some of 2020’s early summer events have been postponed, there’s still so many great events to pick from. You can align your selection to suit both your budget and for reaching your audience profile.

Some recommended food festivals that deliver both on budget and audience reach include Great British Food Festivals and Tom Kerridges’ new Pub in the Park; all of which have rescheduled their events from late August 2020 onwards.

Our Photo Archive Example: Barrel brewed ginger beer brand Bundaberg created a barrel shaped bar for sip sampling their range, with a sales counter for selling multi packs– and a fun target throwing game to win a full whole single bottle to drink now.

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


With London’s Excel Exhibition Centre now turned into the UK’s largest ever field hospital to cope with Covid casualties, many exhibitions have either been reschedule or relocated. Once the restrictions are listed, both brands and retailers will be fighting harder than ever for new listings and to reconnect with their trade contacts!

Don’t just turn up and hope you get some new listings. You need to pro-actively go in to each event with a refined game plan that includes an event specific show deal, a tempting data capture strategy and a support team divided into specific job roles to ensure you leave the show with new listings and hot leads, rather than just a hole in your budget.

The biggest date for many in the calendar is the NEC’s National Convenience Show which was pushed back from March 2020 to April 2021 – so is now going to be bigger than ever. Many of the other largest events like The Lunch Show, The Restaurant Show, etc are already scheduled for Sept and Oct so are still progressing as planned.

Our Photo Archive Example: Typhoo Tea created an adjustable sized exhibition area to attended a mix of trade shows and consumer events to show off their full range of teas, for hot sampling, data capture, direct sales and trade contact engagement.

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


For many people lucky enough to have their immediate families living with them at home during isolation, they know just how challenging working from home can be! Say what you will about the benefits of logging on remotely, but once the restrictions are lifted, the offfice areas in every major city will quickly become as busy as they ever were, once professionals quickly revert back to their more productive places of work.

During summer, there is the added element of heat – so sampling anything refreshing either inside or in front of office areas and stations is incredibly popular. Just remember to keep your interaction brief, as while the audience reach is huge, the average dwell time around stations is short.

London is clearly the biggest area to focus on with a vast range of high density office areas and  stations; but if budgets allow, you can and should reach other major cities across the UK too. If you sample in front of stations outside of London like Manchester or Leeds, etc – don’t forget you’ll need to line up regional permits from that city in advance.

Our Photo Archive Example: Fulfil Nutrition’s tasty vitamin and protein bars used a converted Chevy Step Truck (AKA Big Phil) for taste sampling and interactive brand experiences reaching hundreds of thousands of young professionals directly in front of London’s tube and train stations to drive sales into WHS Travel, Boots, Tesco Express, Sainsburys Local, M&S and other station stockists.

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


Between panic buying, hording and restaurants closing – the sector that has actually had peak record sales during the Corona Crisis is grocery. Food shoppers are buying more than ever before; but with wages hit by many industries in slow down, budget brands will now be the default choice for many.

For the first time in recent memory, private label and premium brands who once held a comfortable market position will have to fight harder for sales and continued shelf space than ever before. If customers do not fully understand the benefit of why two roughly similar products are different in price, then the cheaper option will become their default.

Well organised sampling that is conducted directly in front of your grocery stockists is the strongest and most effective activity to deliver measurable sales growth for your brand. Effective options beyond the basic ‘Mable with a table’ are available at ALL chains, including Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Booths. Envision a creatively branded pop up experience that greets all shoppers on arrival, enthusiastically communicates your USPs, present your tasters and drives immediate and long term sustained sales growth from every store attended.

Our Photo Archive Example: Rustlers Burgers used experiential supermarket sampling to sell 315 burgers per store, per day on average, across a nationwide tour of 180 Tesco Extras and Tesco Superstores. The supermarket sampling roadshow was judged to be “The Most Effective Retail Sales Experience” at the 2018 Field Marketing and Brand experience Awards.


While many city centre or suburban high street retail areas currently look like an eerie scene from a zombie movie, by summertime they will be packed full of office workers, young professionals, fitness enthusiasts, families with children and all sectors of the great British public.

High street convenience retail stockists like Waitrose, Co-op, Tesco Metro and Tesco Express, Sainsburys Local, Holland & Barrett, Boots and many others like them are all ideally suited to benefit from sampling on the busy high streets that these stores are located on.

For those on a tight budget, roaming sampling provides the ability to use portable sampling carts, trikes and sampling display trays to present and sample without the need for premium site fees or cost prohibitive event kit. For brands with static event areas, every city and suburb has a busy high street that is ideally suited to host your experiential event area.

Our Photo Archive Example: New innovation brand True Nopal Catcus Water, used a portable sampling cart to present, sample and sell its new healthy drinks by sampling in front of 50 high street Waitrose stores, uplifting sales in those stockists by as much as 383 units in one store in a single day. The convenience retailer focussed campaign was judged to be ‘The Most Effective Retail Sales Experience’ in the 2019 Field Marketing and Brand Experience Awards.

Summer sampling - experiential marketing


If you are inspired or just intrigued to find out more about where you can take your brand in 2020, get in touch for some interesting ideas, effective options and new campaign plans:

E: joelk@linkcommunication.co.uk

W: www.linkcommunication.co.uk

About the author:

Joel Kaufman is Managing Director and veteran founder of multi award-winning experiential agency, Link Communication.



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