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Case Study

Urban Eat: a Freshers sampling extravaganza

Urban Eat exists at the forefront of culinary innovation. They make delicious, exciting food-to-go – and they do it in forward-thinking, environmentally-conscious ways. From relaunching their vegan range, Roots, to embarking on socially-responsible growing projects across UK cities via their Urban Garden initiative, the sandwich brand has worked hard to earn their status as the UK’s number one sandwich brand.

The challenge: get fresh customers for Freshers season

Urban Eat had just one missing ingredient: students. As a fast-moving demographic that refreshes every year, the student audience is a difficult one to get on side. (Spoiler alert – that’s where we come in.)

In the student world, Freshers is the perfect time for introductions – to new people, to new experiences, to new places – and, of course, to new brands. Urban Eat was already on the shelves of many key campus stockists – all that remained was to make the leap from shelf to the shopping basket of students everywhere. Urban Eat approached native with several goals: to make that first impression on a new cohort of Freshers; to re-engage current student customers; to point students in the right direction (towards campus stockists) and to increase their social following. native boldly stepped up to take on the challenge.

The solution: an experiential sandwich topped with bold creatives 

There are lots of reasons why great brands like Urban Eat turn to native to deliver their student marketing goals. For one, campus media within our network has the largest direct reach to students thanks to our exclusive partnerships with Students’ Unions. We also provide omnichannel access to students where and when they are receptive to brand discovery. But in this case, we were best placed to elevate Urban Eat on campus because of our niche: our experiential agency, crowd by native. With experts on the ground waiting to bring creative briefs to life, they’ve been surprising and delighting students for years. 

To deliver on Urban Eat’s brief, crowd by native created an epic concoction of their own. Knowing that 80% of students spend with a brand they discovered at a freshers event, we created a full-scale Freshers fair tour across seven strategic campuses. Freshers fairs are strong hubs of opportunity – and they’re also packed to the brim with hungry students who are open to discovering new things. 

Within this environment, we offered something tangible: a free Urban Eat lunch, delivered there and then, for any student that followed Urban Eat on Instagram. The samples stayed fresh and delicious thanks to an onsite refrigeration stand, meaning students got the optimum Urban Eat experience. Alongside this, we added bright creative and enticing visuals – making use of our extensive experiential marketing inventory to drive awareness and bring students to the point of sample. A huge part of Urban Eat’s appeal to students is their bold, light-hearted brand messaging; we made sure this was front and centre of the campaign, increasing visibility across each Freshers fair.

The result: over 8,000 happy students

As it turns out, there is such a thing as a free lunch – and it has widespread appeal for students. Over 8,000 Freshers-fair attendees sampled the delights of Urban Eat’s Roots range, and over 3,000 locked in their support for the brand by following on Insta as a direct result of this activation. The sampling also translated into sales – on-campus stockists of Urban Eat reported impressive uplifts in purchases of the brand in the aftermath of the sampling event. Students came away with a free sample and a streamlined experience, Students’ Unions hosted a forward-thinking, ethically-conscious brand on campus, and Urban Eat saw fantastic results on social and in store. It’s a perfect example of the native win-win-win.

You too, can benefit from the native win-win-win. Get in touch to discover how we can bring your brand to life on campus, whatever your student marketing goals.