Product sampling with Rustlers Gourmet, Experiential Sampling at Tesco Supermarkets, shopper marketing, tesco shopper agency, retail marketing agency, examples

Rustlers – Tesco Supermarket Car Park Sampling Tour

Gold Award Winning Campaign

The Most Effective Retail Sales Experience

The Field Marketing & Brand Experience Awards – 2018

The overall objective was to successfully launch the new Rustlers Gourmet Burgers across their key retailer, Tesco. Through Kepak’s consumer insight sessions and previous experience, Kepak had identified a significant barrier to sales was that many shoppers hold a preconceived, negative perception of microwavable burgers.

The campaign needed to directly address a number of common misconceptions about the product and ingredients whilst helping inform, educate and excite shoppers.

Consumer Perceptions
  • Microwavable burgers sound unappealing as it is not normal to cook beef in a microwave.
  • Microwavable burgers contain low grade beef from undisclosed sources, mixed with fillers.
  • Microwavable burgers are heavily processed, full of chemicals that are harmful for health.
  • The quality of the accompaniments are of low standard, such as a cheap sachet of ketchup.
  • The beef patty will be small and insubstantial, not providing the meal satisfaction hoped for.
  • Many shoppers do not shop on the ‘ready meal’ aisle, as they assume it’s not suited for them.
Product Reality
  • The burgers are cooked on a real flame grill & are just reheated in a microwave for convenience.
  • Rustlers Gourmet Burgers are made with 100% beef, from fully traceable British and Irish farms.
  • Each burger is simply minced, pressed and flame grilled before being packed for convenience.
  • All aspects provide a premium taste, with a brioche bun, bacon, sauces and crunchy dried onions.
  • The quarter pounder weight patty is thick and substantial, delivering on both size and flavour.
  • While the ready meal ranges do have a core audience, it is easily expanded on product discovery.

With these considerations in mind, the campaign objectives set by the client were

Encourage taste trial of over 1,000 samples to shoppers, per store visited, on a daily basis

Aim to generate 100 immediate sales of the Gourmet range burgers per store, per day

Achieve a sample to purchase conversion ratio target of approx 10% to achieve the targets

The Solution – Tesco Car Park Sampling Tour

The retail sampling and sales experience used 3 X ‘pop’-up’ burger kitchens, set up for a day in front of 180 Tesco Extra supermarkets and Tesco Superstores, engaging shoppers on the busiest days of each week (Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun). Supermarkets were chosen based on being the largest sized, busiest stores, which stocked both Classic and BBQ flavours to allow customers to try and potentially buy both flavours in the range.

Rustlers - Supermarket Sampling Campaign Tesco Car Park

Prior to commencement, the roadshow team attended a tour of the Rustlers factory which included:

  • Seeing first-hand the quality joints of beef being loaded for mincing and pressing into patties
  • The patties were followed into the cooking area, to see the real flame grill in action
  • The cooled patties were packed into the brioche buns with extra fillings ready for shipping
  • The hyper sterile conditions of the Rustlers factory were explained and closely followed
  • The factory manager showed how traceable each burger is, right down to a specific herd and field
Rustlers-Gourmet,-Experiential-Sampling-at-Tesco,- Supermarkets

The event managers attended a dry run training day at Link’s head office. This entailed:

  • A full set up of the event area, allowing them to get fully familiar with all the kit
  • Catering considerations, with efficient use of catering kit & attractive presentation
  • Technical training on more complex portable power generators and electrics
  • Health and safety training, loading of heavy items and shopper safety considerations
  • A final stage briefing, with a detailed run through and verbal rehearsals of key messaging
Supermarket Sampling - Tesco Car Park Retail Sales

Each sampling event area included:

  • A hand-made wooden bar counter with branded light box, as a forward facing serving table
  • A brick effect back wall, made from portable boards, dressed to look like a sit in burger diner
  • Hot catering with multiple microwaves and chilled catering kit for large volume sample production
  • A branded sales fridge near the stand or foyer, allowing shoppers to make impulse purchases
  • Directional aisle signs with interchangeable aisle numbers to direct customers for each store layout
  • Stylish deli style uniforms, colour coordinated down to the small detail of black catering gloves
  • User generated social media, rewarding shoppers for sharing posts and photos
  • Re-assuring displays about the fully traceable provenance of the beef.
Rustlers Supermarket Sampling Tesco Car Parks

Once live, each event day is brought to life with:

  • Advance booking with Tesco’s media team (N2O) to provide authorisation for each day
  • Advance uplifts of sales stock and sampling sent into each store
  • Detailed site maps, hotels booked, travel routes mapped and shift schedules plotted
  • Supporting teams of brand ambassadors selected, briefed, confirmed and guided to store
  • Hot sampling with burgers cooked, built, quartered and presented for hot sampling
  • Promotional BOGOF offer, for shoppers to redeem with the team on their way back out of store
  • Daily reporting on samples and sales tracking from store EPOS and Tesco supplier portal
  • Daily photos, feedback from customers, from store managers and social media posts
  • Sales! Lots and lots and lots of sales.


  • 1,300 perfectly presented hot taster samples were presented on average p/day to shoppers.
  • 315 Gourmet Burgers sold ON AVERAGE per store per day – across all 180 stores attended.
  • 23% sample tasting to purchase conversion was achieved on average (over 1:5 ratio).
  • A WORLD RECORD BREAKING 559 Gourmet Burgers were sold in one single store, on just one day (24th Feb!).
  • An immense 43% sample tasting to immediate purchase conversion – was achieved at this incredible peak.

By comparison – the normal rate of sale for Gourmet Burgers averaged at approx three units p/store, p/day.

  • This equates to AVERAGE uplifts of over 10,000%, when the Link Communication sampling roadshow team visited a Tesco.
  • This equates to a PEAK sales uplift of 18,533% at the highest performing store!!!

The Tesco Media report registered results within the activated stores Vs a benchmark of like for like control stores, to identify the following results:

  • 26 million store level impressions during the first wave of activity
  • 14 million category level impressions during the initial tour
  • 2 million customers reached during it


  • 91% of shoppers who purchased it did so for the very first time
  • 70% of shoppers who purchased had never purchased from the ready meal category before
  • 30% of shoppers switched to Rustlers from another brand or product within the category
  • 13% growth was achieved across Tesco’s entire ready meal category!!!
  • Sustained Rate of Sales up lifts achieved across every store, recorded six weeks after each visit.

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