Better food for all.

How do you get people to try something new?


Drive traffic and increase revenue for Sobeys Newcastle without cannibalizing revenue from nearby Sobeys locations.

Sobeys Newcastle, a new concept store with selections tailored specifically to busy professionals and families opened in north Edmonton in June 2014. However, revenue and traffic did not meet initial targets. Starburst was tasked with solving the problem: How do we drive traffic and increase revenue for Sobeys Newcastle without cannibalizing revenue from nearby Sobeys locations?

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We extended an exclusive invitation to north-Edmonton residents to attend a pop-up menu tasting event for a new restaurant called Fresh Market Bistro that was opening in the community. Email invitations were sent out and directed invitees to the Fresh Market Bistro microsite (which later became the Sobeys Newcastle Microsite) to view the menu and RSVP for the event. We created an intimate restaurant space inside a local community hall and the guests were treated to a delicious multi-course meal that, unbeknownst to them, came from the kitchen at Sobeys Newcastle.

Fresh market bistro was not real.

At the end of the night, guests were let in on the secret: Fresh Market Bistro was not, in fact, real. The food they had enjoyed is available ready-made every day at Sobeys Newcastle.

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A YouTube sensation.

180,065 views on YouTube.

We captured the event on video and produced a two-minute spot that was leveraged online. The video’s objective was to highlight the quality of Sobeys Newcastle’s food. As the attendees’ reactions show, they were surprised to discover gourmet quality food at their neighbourhood grocery store.

The Sobeys Kitchen Surprise video was enormously successful, with a total of 180,065 views of 25% or more of the video runtime.



million total digital impressions.

With almost 10.5 million total digital impressions made over the course of this campaign, the Sobeys Newcastle video ads and website made a significant impact on their intended audience. We also staged a blogger outreach campaign to promote Sobeys Newcastle, which received a high level of engagement among local food bloggers and their followers.



increase in average weekly sales.

Average weekly sales went up 5% in the first eight weeks of the campaign compared to the eight weeks prior. That number jumped to 9% in the following seven weeks, again compared to the eight weeks before the campaign.



increase in customer counts.

Customer counts jumped 22% and 23% in the same respective time periods.


The extended social reach of this campaign, a result of social media sharing and earned media, extended to over 176,500 people.

Social media chatter was overwhelmingly positive, with numerous shares, likes and comments across Twitter and Facebook both locally and nationally.

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The microsite alone received more than 4,000 unique visits during the life of the campaign.

Focus on foodies.

In order to complement Sobeys Kitchen Surprise, we ran an advertising campaign aimed at two audience segments. The first segment was defined by their enjoyment of discovering new foods and products. They want quality and are willing to travel for a better food experience. The second group was more time-conscious and value convenience as well as quality. Overall, we restricted our audiences to those who live close to the store, except enthusiasts located citywide.

Our solution was to differentiate Sobeys Newcastle from neighbouring competitors by positioning it as a local destination for “foodies.” We aimed to tell the story of their fresh food offerings, fantastic deli selection, ready-made meals and other unique products through advertising, onsite signage and a targeted experiential event that could be leveraged to a larger audience.

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Unique pairings.

With the help of a food stylist and chef, we created a campaign that featured unusual flavour pairings made up of items available every day at Sobeys Newcastle. The purpose was to target the first group.


We built a microsite that highlighted all the features of the Sobeys Newcastle store. Online advertising linked directly to the microsite and was first result for those searching for Sobeys Newcastle.

In partnership with Mediactive, an Edmonton-based media planning and buying agency, we ran targeted online and out-of-home advertising in the direct vicinity of Sobeys Newcastle. We also ran print advertising in community papers and sent direct mail pieces targeted to surrounding neighbourhoods.

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