Vita Coco pens love letter to NYC bodegas in new OOH campaign

Dive Brief:

  • Vita Coco debuted an out-of-home (OOH) campaign honoring New York City bodega owners for staying open during the pandemic, according to details the company shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The effort sends a message of gratitude to workers and owners of the city’s ubiquitous corner stores for providing essential groceries to residents during the lockdown. Three designs of “love letters to bodegas” will appear on phone kiosks, posters and postings around the city through July 12. Creative agency Interesting Development is behind the campaign.
  • Vita Coco is also partnering with new delivery app My Bodega Online to deliver breakfast sandwiches and coconut water to 5,000 local healthcare workers at hospitals across the city through June 12.

Dive Insight:

When New York City shut down months ago for the coronavirus, many bodegas stayed open to provide residents an alternative to overcrowded grocery stores. Even as sales dropped as much as 80% for some businesses, per Eater, the majority of these shops risked exposure to the virus and stayed open to help customers survive.

Honoring these grocery store alternatives may help Vita Coco align itself as a bodega staple, especially as it links its coconut water beverage to the classic bacon egg and cheese sandwich that many shops in the city are known for. Vita Coco is looking to position the food pairing as a quick bodega breakfast for city dwellers while showing the brand’s appreciation for local businesses that are a lifeline for residents in the epicenter of the pandemic.

There are more than 10,000 bodegas across New York City, and this rich distribution network could help Vita Coco reach and sell products to New Yorkers in almost every neighborhood. The brand had planned a spring campaign focusing on its newer Pressed coconut water line, but it pivoted when the public health outbreak began to make its way across the country.

This OOH effort comes as Vita Coco diversifies its products to expand its retail positioning. The beverage first became popular through natural food retailers, but is dropping off in that category. Meanwhile, it’s growing by about the same rate in the convenience channel, per Bevnet. The bodega-focused campaign suggests the brand is shifting its marketing efforts to strengthen relationships with these sellers while boosting sales through these convenience shops.

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