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K-8 Sampling
June 3, 2024
min read

Three winning K-8 sampling strategies from top CPG brands that you need to try

Teachers posing with samples at Back to School Night

Imagine for a moment what your favorite childhood foods were. There were a lot of options in the store but you usually made a beeline to ones you already knew. Then you’d ask a parent or caregiver to buy it for you. After all, they had wallets.

For CPG brands focused on the K-8 demographic, increasing positive brand awareness among parents is a strong complementary approach to winning over youth. But knowing what you want to happen is not the same as doing it well.

We at Recess were excited to partner with several top CPG brands on omnichannel product sampling campaigns that used data to effectively target locations and participants most likely to get brands’ products into K-8 hands. Check out these three strategies we executed.

Parents, PTOs, and PTAs, oh my! AKA how to reach one million people with one product sampling campaign

In working with an American multinational CPG manufacturer driven by a mission to make food the world loves, we had to go big. They wanted to drive brand awareness and target a specific market (Spanish-speaking households), so we went where primary household buyers were: PTO and PTA meetings.

“It is with a very thankful heart that [they] provided these bars for my families. Working in a below-poverty-level area, parents rarely get appreciated, and the slogan on the tags was a perfect add-on. They felt so appreciative and happy!” -Parent Group Leader

Using our data-driven platform to identify schools with a majority Latinx student population, we took the omnichannel product sampling campaign nationwide.

PTA programs are a great way to reach influential K-8 parents at scale.

At 98 events, samples were distributed with information about how purchasing products would benefit schools through a rewards redemption program. Parents also received emails and promotions through Facebook about the charming brand, allowing the campaign to reach 1,000,000 people.

And it wasn’t unwelcomed. 100% of recipients reacted positively to the samples at PTO/PTA events, especially because the products could help support schools. A majority of participants also shared that they would purchase because of the taste, low-sugar content, and fun factor for their kids. Lucky us!

Sampling chilled treats where the K-8 people are: genius idea

On the left: parents and kids enjoy samples at youth sporting events. On the right: K-8 students enjoy samples at the cafeteria, during lunchtime.

Location, location, location. A common phrase in business and not at all a bad idea. When working with a refrigerated Greek yogurt bar brand on goals of driving brand awareness and increasing retail sales with youth, we looked for places where kids felt good and would love samples.

So off to youth sporting events, cafeterias, and festivals we went! 

Kids love getting yummy samples during the school day!

We partnered with youth sports communities and various facilities to distribute more than 10,000 samples with promotional cards. Social media posts and email promotions further enticed those who weren’t at events or missed the on-site signage. 

Participants of all ages loved the Greek yogurt and chocolate bars, asking where they could be bought. After all, which child doesn’t love ice cream (or ice cream-adjacent) treats? The teachers also responded positively for how healthful the treats were.

Adding sampling excitement to back-to-school events

To increase brand awareness and promote a new product for a multinational CPG manufacturer with iconic brands that represent $18.1B+ in retail sales worldwide, we looked to their company values of winning together.

Our client’s reward redemption program had gone digital recently so information about engaging with their app was crucial to promote. We wanted parents to feel empowered and supportive of their schools; they just needed to know how.

Teachers and school administrative staff hand out samples at Back to School Night.

So how did we do it together? By presenting special offers within 100,000 co-branded gift packs for parents at 284 back-to-school events nationwide. The timing was perfect since families are typically excited at the start of the school year. 

We accompanied on-site samples with digital marketing via emails, targeted banner ads (that had a clickthrough rate of 3x the industry standard!), and an incentivized independent consumer research study that uncovered insights to our client, the PTOs, and the PTAs.

“We love these back-to-school gift packs because they allow us to engage with almost every single parent in the school on back-to-school night! Thank you!”

The campaign gave our partners opportunities to engage with parents about the program’s impact on their schools, which was critical to the campaign’s success. These leaders are trusted community members, and their influence showed: nearly all survey respondents shared that they would or already had taken action! How else could you top that outcome?

Delicious samples make Back to School Nights more fun for both teachers and parents!

Want to get your brand in front of the K-8 audience and achieve strong ROI?

Partner with Recess. With more than 15,000 opportunities for sampling which you can filter by consumer demographic, customer behavior, location, proximity to retailer, Recess can support your unique brand activation and sampling event execution in turnkey, measurable, and scalable ways. Talk to a Recess expert to learn more.

Minerva Thai
Minerva Thai
Writer at Recess

Translates super neat CPG brand experiences and strategies into words. Wants you to say hi to a dog for her.