Issue #42

Luxe Brand Elevation

CPG brands aim for unexpected complexity with elevated event experiences.

What is most memorable—a luxurious experience, a memorable meal... or sheer irony? In the case of many CPG brands as of late it’s all three as they embrace elevated events to transform their grocery store (and fast food) brands into special occasion experiences for consumers designed to showcase how products, like snack foods, can be consumed at all times of day and in unexpected ways.

Take Cheetos, which in July opened The Spotted Cheetah pop-up restaurant during NYC Restaurant Week with a fine-dining experience featuring dishes inspired by the “basic” crunchy cheese snack. The event, showcased on OpenTable, was designed to educate consumers on its legacy (since 1948) and all of the various flavors the product comes in (21 to be exact). Celebrity Chef Anne Burrell created the menu for the restaurant that had thousands on the waiting list for reservations. One of her dishes: White Cheddar Cheetos and Cheetos Sweetos Apple Crepes. It’s one of many “ironic” and elevated campaigns Cheetos has launched recently, including a perfume called “Cheeteau” as well as a Cheetos-inspired fashion and jewelry website.

In October, LA VICTORIA salsa brand set out to educate consumers on its 100-year legacy by hosting private dinners at exclusive venues—like Junipero Serra Museum in San Diego and the Santa Monica Pier in California—offering local bands, artists, gift bags and elevated premiums like branded wooden bowls. For the brand, it was about elevating salsa from a basic chip and dip snack to a cultural staple that drives home how Mexican food brings people together.

To elevate its fast food brand, Taco Bell in October dipped its shells in fashion, partnering with “fast fashion” brand Forever 21 on a limited-edition collection that before going on sale was released at a special catwalk event in L.A.’s Fashion District. Fast food nachos and tacos as fashionable designs? The irony. And that’s just the idea. It follows, among the brand’s quirky campaigns, Taco Bell’s foray into “upscale dining” last year when it opened four sleek new test stores designed to transform it into a dinner destination.

Table for two, please.

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