- French's Mustard plans to host a pop-up event that urges people to trade in jars of mayonnaise for a free sandwich created by celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio. The McCormick-owned condiment brand will unveil the MustSwitch sandwich at his restaurant, Craft NYC, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 6-7, per an announcement.
- Customers who don't have a jar of mayonnaise to trade in can take the "MustSwitch pledge" as payment for the sandwich, which is made with a flank steak braised in French's classic yellow mustard and marinated in McCormick spices. French's will donate any unopened jars of mayonnaise that people bring to the pop-up to food banks in New York City.
- As it looked to extend the reach of its experiential activation, French's released a limited number of kits with all the ingredients to make a MustSwitch at home. The kits were available via delivery by ordering from Craft NYC's website, but had sold out by press time.
French's pop-up event to highlight how its mustard can be used to craft a gourmet sandwich is notable amid the crosscurrents in consumer behavior. While the pandemic has led people to spend more time at home preparing their own meals, the event is urging them to venture outdoors and visit a pop-up venue outside a restaurant in New York. As the weather gets warmer in spring and people venture outdoors more, it's possible that experiential campaigns like the French's event will make a bigger comeback.
There are signs that brands are tiptoeing back into experiential marketing in ways that allow people to practice social distancing outdoors. Valentine's Day, typically an occasion when campaigns focus on romance and togetherness, saw a variety of experiential campaigns to bring people out of their homes. Hardware retailer Lowe's invited couples to collaborate on a painting at several warehouse locations, while burger chain White Castle tweaked its annual Valentine's Day event to let people book a romantic dinner at a drive-in rather than its dining rooms. Dunkin' promoted its seasonal menu with an experiential campaign that gave couples a chance to get married or renew their vows in a drive-thru lane.
For French's parent company McCormick, the pop-up event is a sign of how its campaigns are evolving from a focus on stay-at-home experiences during the pandemic. Last year, the spicemaker hosted a virtual Taco Tuesday with actress and talk-show host Drew Barrymore on Instagram Live, the photo-sharing app's livestreaming platform. McCormick last year saw 10% growth in its consumer revenue with people cooking more at home, though a decline in sales to restaurants and other food-service venues partly offset those gains, according to a quarterly report.