The excitement of parents and their younglings while collecting Rollinz and following Jedi training sessions was all covered by national and social media. Thanks to the Jedi Academy, children could learn how to use a Lightsaber from Star Wars figurines in Esselunga stores. Esselunga was put in the spotlight during the Star Wars program and won the award for ‘Best Retail Execution’ at the NC Loyalty Awards and the Promotion Awards.
Esselunga was the first-ever Italian supermarket chain to introduce card-based customer loyalty programs in 1995. It knew how to influence consumer behavior but was looking for new ways to stand out.
Esselunga wanted to create more value for its loyal customers by surprising them with a kid-focused loyalty program that would also expand their customer base. BrandLoyalty and Esselunga created a massive marketing activation plan to bring more consumers to Esselunga’s stores while getting ‘free advertising’ from national media exposure.
The first Star Wars movie was released globally in 1977, meaning that many current shoppers grew up with the successful franchise. That’s why this brand can perfectly serve as a binding factor for families, as today’s grandparents remember the stories and figurines from when they were raising their kids.
Unlike many retailers who put a lot of focus on digitalizing their marketing campaigns, Esselunga’s strength lays in leveraging core offline media surrounding the program to attract its audiences. This was one of the key ingredients for high participation, not only in families with children but among all age groups.
One of the largest driving forces of this program was The Walt Disney Company itself. The well-established brand helped convince Esselunga to take on this loyalty program and the shoppers to collect the Star Wars Rollinz.
Besides having a famous brand, the Walt Disney Company really got behind the program. The teasers were shown on different Disney media channels, in magazines, and across social media.
Throughout the programme, Esselunga's carried strong communication through in-store events involving children with costumes and lightsabers receiving Jedi training. This activity also attracted a lot of attention, as parents shared pictures of their kids enthusiastically embracing the stories they loved as young kids. By offering a brand that connected multiple generations, Esselunga created a more personal relationship with its customers.
Besides the in-store Jedi training sessions, Esselunga designed one final Star Wars event towards the end of the program to engage families outside the stores. 10 different Jedi training sessions were offered to children, who received a special certificate for participating: the ‘Jedi Diploma’. The events also provided opportunities for collectors to swap their Rollinz, get their faces painted, and meet real-life Star Wars characters. All in all, over 8,000 people attended the event and 7,500 Rollinz were swapped.
The results of the first award-winning Star Wars Rollinz loyalty program in Esselunga created such a buzz among shoppers that they demanded a follow-up program. The Star Wars Rollinz 2.0 program was launched in mid-December 2017 and continued until mid-February 2018. A new collection was offered with ‘special edition’ Rollinz that were golden or could glow in the dark.
For the second program, Esselunga put more focus on the digital app that customers could download to use for games and enhance their experience, as well as to exchange their Rollinz. The Star Wars Rollinz 2.0 program won several prizes at the NC Loyalty Awards and the Promotion Awards, showing once again the strength of the program’s activation.
In the winter of 2019, Disney's Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker was released, ending the 'trilogy of trilogies', often named the 'Skywalker' saga. Riding on the success of this blockbuster, Esselunga surprised its shoppers with Rollinz 3.0. The collectible range of 32 Rollinz included 8 special characters with outstanding features such as lights, soft textures and more! The 33rd Rollinz, the 'Gummy Yoda' could be redeemed when spending €25 on CheJoy items - the retailer's private label line featuring Disney. Through outstanding in-store communication, multichannel external communication, and its Mastering the Force events, Esselunga boosted awareness among generations of Italians.
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