Since its launch, Checkers’ “Little Garden” loyalty campaign programme (which the brand conceptualised through a collaborative effort with its fulfilment partner), has illustrated how, in a market where consumers increasingly expect retailers to be relevant and responsible, values and morals have become just as important as value.

Andrew Brand, group CEO of 99c, explains that the concept for the campaign was driven by Checkers’s need to launch a new kind of loyalty campaign, one that would speak to its core principles and focus areas. The campaign rewards shoppers for every R150 spent in a Checkers or Checkers Hyper store with one seedling kit. All materials used in the kit are compostable or recyclable.

With the Little Garden campaign Checkers wanted to set a new standard for educationally and environmentally responsible collectables, or, in this case, “growables”, says Brand. “We hoped to show South Africans how much fun gardening can be, while at the same time encouraging both children and adults to learn more about growing their flowers, herbs and vegetables.”  

The big take-out

Retailers need to heed consumers’ demand that they add value, not only in terms of the products and services they provide, but also in terms of benefiting communities.

It’s no secret that consumers increasingly want to engage with brands that provide more than a product or service – and part of that is the expectation that brands have a social conscience and are seen to be doing good. Brand believes Checkers, as the first retailer to have brought this kind of “collectable with a conscience” campaign to SA, will change the game significantly.

Key to the launch – and success – of a campaign like this is to take an omnichannel approach, says Brand. This ensures that the campaign actually adds value to the lives of consumers across all touch points. Little Garden is a complex campaign and its success also depended on strong relationships and collaboration between agency, client and trusted long-term partners.

To date, the response to the campaign has been extremely positive – from both children and adults. “On a social level, if Checkers can open up the conversation and opportunities for people to start growing things, our society will surely benefit,” Brand says.

The real measure of the Little Garden campaign’s success, however, will be in the legacy of new gardens and gardeners that will continue once the campaign is complete; whether conversations about food security and self-sufficiency endure and “whether the millions of plants and flowers will make SA look and feel better,” says Brand.