If not the biggest, Cheez-It Stop was certainly the cheesiest limited-time roadside attraction in California, delighting road trippers who needed a little something to keep them going.
This retro-style service station was taken over by the iconic cracker brand & we’re giving a Spiro•nod to this pitstop takeover designed to give visitors an ARL™ (All Real Life) experience that connected its fans more deeply to the brand.
The custom gas station was styled to delight commuters & adventure seekers alike on the highway between Los Angeles & San Diego. Visitors enjoyed an Insta-worthy roadside attraction with Cheez-It art & graffiti in the bathrooms, Cheez-it cactus flowers & the station’s beloved statue, Big Josh, holding a branded gas pump nozzle. With nostalgic road trip vibes winning the day for audiences, the entire venue became worthy of posting on main (further increasing brand reach).
The star of the stop? A custom gas pump that delivered bags of Cheez-It crackers to your car instead of petroleum.
Inside the station, visitors found their favorite flavors of Cheez-It, road-trip essentials & brand exclusives. The snack oasis allured Cheez-It’s most dedicated brand fans with an experience that put their love of the cracker front and center while inviting them to play in a nostalgic, creative space.
Though the activation was only open for a week, Cheez-It extended its reach far beyond the parking lot. In a fun retro twist, visitors could choose a postcard from a rack of old-school missives to send to a friend, leaving it with attendants to be mailed off around the country for those who couldn’t see the snack stop in person.
In recent years, roadside attractions—and gas stations in particular—have become more & more popular as a theme for brand activations. With major brands like Marvel, YSL Beauty & 818 Tequila hosting pop-ups in the Southern California desert, Cheez-It has tapped into a major trend in the experiential marketing industry—while executing its own vintage, tasty twist.
The next time loyal Cheez-It fans get ready for a road trip, they can already count on their favorite snack to keep them going.
So, what can you take away from this Spiro•nod?
It doesn’t have to be the latest tech. At a time when receiving fun snail mail (read: not bills) is more novel than getting a text, the postcards offered a simple, inexpensive & analog element to grab additional customer mindshare.
Sometimes putting a quirky twist on a vintage concept can pay brand dividends. Especially with nostalgia & retro styles becoming more in vogue, the latest in tech isn’t always what’s going to wow your audiences. Keep it simple & give the people what they want (in this case, they wanted cheese crackers—and the gas pump spewing bags of them certainly delivered).
Create a brand fan zone. The growing experiential marketing trend of the fan zone isn’t just for sports teams & brands. Now, B2C & B2B brands across industries can use these uniquely engaging experiences to better connect with their audiences & stakeholders, nurturing brand communities.
Set your sights beyond a single food truck & pop-up tent selling merch. Instead, implement several tailored activities & connection touchpoints to keep audiences engaging & excited. Fan zones give your most passionate brand advocates the opportunity to connect with like-minded audiences & wholeheartedly express their love for your brand, while your brand shows them some love in return—so give your fans the experience they deserve.
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