Albertson’s leverages nostalgia with Toy Story 4

10 minutes

At the end of spring 2019, we reunited everyone’s favorite Toy Story characters, along with some new ones at United Supermarkets, a division of Albertsons. The campaign objectives were to drive sales, attract more families with young children, and enhance the in-store experience by focusing on something radically different than just assortment and price. Toy Story 4 MicroPopz quickly became a household name, leaving smiles on the faces of customers of all ages.

Albertson’s leverages nostalgia with Toy Story 4

Facing the competition

Albertsons Companies operates in a hyper-competitive retail environment against significant competitors like Walmart, Aldi, Kroger, Ahold Delhaize, and Amazon. The retailer is ranked as the 4th largest food retailer/wholesaler in North America.  United Supermarkets wanted to offer its customers something to create excitement in stores to differentiate from the competition.  BrandLoyalty worked closely with United to customize the right offer and build out an exclusive program to deliver on the campaign objectives. 

Riding the wave of nostalgia


The retailer was looking for a campaign that would appeal to young families with children. As it had been almost ten years since the last Toy Story movie, United was able to benefit from all of the buzz coming from Disney’s marketing initiatives before the Toy Story 4 film release. Finding a connection between its customers, Toy Story, and United was critical in creating the most engaging and thought-out program possible.  The call to action was that “United Supermarkets is the place where old and new friends come together,” fusing the nostalgia that Toy Story represents, with the goals from the retailer, to bring communities and families together. 


24 quirky, yet lovable characters to collect

24 quirky, yet lovable characters to collect


Launched on May 29, 2019, customers were able to collect a range of 24 Toy Story 4 MicroPopz.  For every $25 spent at United Supermarkets during the eight-week promotion, customers would receive one free MicroPopz collectible in a sealed, blind package. For $2.99, there was also a collector’s album available to purchase to hold all 24 characters. Customers also had the option to download the MicroPopz! app to track their collection digitally, take Toy Story selfies, and unlock unique video content available exclusively to the program.  Downloading the app also allowed customers to enter the program sweepstakes for a family trip to Disneyland.

To kick off the program at their flagship store in Lubbock, United Supermarkets held a meet and greet event. Customers entered coloring competitions, learned about the program, and had the chance to meet Woody and Jesse, the characters from the parks. During the programme, they organized additional in-store events as well, allowing customers to trade their MicroPopz with one another to complete their collection.

Today’s consumers are bombarded with prices on items. I think one of the reasons these types of promotions are so successful is; it just gives us something else to talk about. Wes Jackson, CMO of United Supermarkets, United States

The enduring appeal of friendship and storytelling

Toy Story, a series of animated movies, first launched in 1995 with a  mass appeal from fans and critics alike, marking the launch of Pixar Animation studios into the forefront of animated storytelling.  Twenty years later, many of the kids that watched the first Toy Story movies, now have kids of their own. Crossing the generational gap, these now grown-up kids hold the Toy Story series close to their heart, making them some of the program’s biggest ambassadors.  Parents and kids alike were lining up to take their pictures with the characters, and to complete their MicroPopz collection.

Eight weeks of emotion, entertainment, and sales lift

Riding on the back of the fourth and final Toy Story movie launch, the program capitalized on the market excitement and delivered strong results. Utilizing United’s methodology, the Toy Story campaign led to a 2% total sales increase, with participating customers stretching their basket by +6% and stretching their spend by 16%. Following the program, a Kantar research panel was fielded. With this, 90% of participants surveyed indicated they would be interested in another promotion like the Toy Story MicroPopz! 

The MicroPopz! are something fun for the kids, and it makes me want to shop there more for stuff I need anyways. United customer, July 2019

About United Supermarkets

United Supermarkets first opened its doors in 1916 with the first United Cash Store in Sayre, Oklahoma. Today, United Supermarkets operates as a division of Albertsons Companies. The United Family operates under five banners (United Supermarkets, Albertsons Market, Amigos, Market Street), totaling 95 stores in 53 communities. Each store format was specially designed to feed, inspire, and reflect the culture of the communities it serves and the evolving needs and wants of the guests we serve.

See more news and articles

StorePal is your loyal companion for in-store execution.

Learn more about StorePal

Find out more about our programs

Take a deeper look into our programs and concepts by reading our case studies.

Go to case studies