Why DTC hand sanitizer brand Shimmy used OOH marketing by working with Gillette Stadium

Shimmy, a direct-to-consumer hand sanitizing provider with an eco-friendly focus, is looking to reach business owners and potential customers with dispensers at Gillette Stadium (home to the New England Patriots). The DTC brand, which was founded in 2021, is now the official hand sanitizer for both the NFL and Major League Soccer teams via the partnership.

“Our strategy is to be part of experiences,” said Liz Davis, CMO of Shimmy when asked about the brand’s marketing strategy. “And doing it in such a joyfully unexpected way that consumers want to share their experience.” She did not provide exact financial terms for the agreement.

The partnership is part of a strategy shift for the brand which had previously focused its marketing efforts on paid social posts. That strategy didn’t prove effective for Shimmy, according to Davis, and the brand is now focused on meeting consumers in person with experiences and OOH marketing efforts.

“Executing a strictly digital media marketing plan primarily on social media didn’t result in enough sales to make it a sustainable way to build our business,” said Davis. Shimmy isn’t the only brand to experiment with new OOH efforts — as the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders have loosened and brands have tried to capture eyeballs being outside again. Days Inn did an OOH campaign to reach customers that are returning to travel amid the latest stage of the pandemic.

That led Ashley Wayman, Shimmy’s co-founder, to connect with the team at Gillette Stadium. The stadium was looking to reimagine customers’ experiences post-pandemic including improving their existing hand sanitizer program. Shimmy CMO Davis pitches its solution as a “premium touchpoint for the stadium experience,” and a more sustainable one as it uses minimal plastic and refills are packed in easy-to-recycle aluminum.

“The partnership drives Shimmy’s product experience to the exact target audience they are after,” said Doug Livingston, partner and chief strategy officer at Togetherwith, a global independent advertising agency. “The campaigns are clever with nods to the venue and consumer desire to return to their normal fan routines.”

The project, which is a joint effort between execs at advertising agency BigEyedWish, Shimmy and Gillette Stadium’s corporate partnerships team, will allow other brands to place ads on Shimmy dispensers throughout the stadium. Shimmy dispensers go for about $74.

It is unclear how much of Shimmy’s advertising budget is allocated to this campaign, as Davis would not share overall budget specifics. According to Kantar data, Shimmy spent a little over $7,000 on marketing efforts in 2021. However, Davis said approximately 90% of its spend on this activation is dedicated to the physical dispensers in the stadium and making the experience as flawless as possible in the high-stakes environment of a more than 65,000-person stadium while the rest will go to in-person event marketing during Patriots pre-season events.

In the early days, Shimmy invested significantly in paid social media advertising but was frustrated by the platforms’ status and the poor experience people had with sanitizer. “The platforms were in a state of disarray from the iOS updates and algorithm changes. We made some traction, but couldn’t justify continuing to spend behind such a high CAC,” said Davis on their shift from social media marketing to experiential and OOH. ”Ultimately, we concluded one of primary purchase barriers we needed to overcome was a disbelief that sanitizer could be a pleasant experience.”

The brand is now fully pivoted to an OOH strategy of getting their dispensers working hard in the community. “Not only do future customers see, experience, and fall in love with Shimmy, but our premium customization enables people to use Shimmy as a brand experience tool or monetize their dispensers as an OOH advertising platform for their vendors,” said Davis.


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