Valentine’s Day at Greggs is a PR winner, and such hook-ups and collaborations are the way forward.
Is having a ‘romantic’ dinner for two at Greggs an experience? Possibly, if sausage rolls, steak pies, table service and Prosecco are your thing.
And if nothing else, it generated huge amounts of press for Britain’s budget baker.
This may, or may not, be an experience. The lucky February 14 diners will no doubt sit, eat and pass judgement.
But from a retail perspective, what is involved is collaboration, in this instance with restaurant booking service Open Table.
The reason this one works is simply because an association between Open Table, normally the place people go to book somewhere fancy for a meal, and Greggs wouldn’t be the first thing that springs to mind.
“It is the supermarkets that are leading the way when it comes to providing an envelope to incorporate what might previously have been considered inappropriate brands and retailers”
The broader question is: are there any limits to the links that can be made between non-competing and seemingly unrelated brands or services?
Would it, for instance, make sense to put a Screwfix pop-up into the home furnishings department of John Lewis, or could a link be made between JD Sports and Burger King (less likely, although not impossible)?
There are in fact probably few barriers, and if you want to get your name in lights, putting unrelated brands to work to create something unexpected will probably be far more effective than any advertising campaign that you might care to mention.
To an extent, the online merchants have been doing this for some time. Doddle in Morrisons is a place where you can click and collect items from Asos, New Look and Amazon, among others, and the fact that it happens to be in a major supermarket is by the by.
The difference is that this is a phenomenon that is permanent, while Greggs and tie-ups like it tend to be pretty ephemeral.
Indeed, it is the supermarkets that are leading the way when it comes to providing an envelope to incorporate what might previously have been considered inappropriate brands and retailers.
Sainsbury’s may own Habitat, but the decision to put half-pint-sized Habitats in its larger branches looked a curious, and by some reckonings, a brave one.
Yet it works and is now something that passes unremarked, other than that it adds to the experience of visiting a large grocer.
In truth, the Greggs stunt is the tip of an iceberg whose underside is something that all retailers should be taking a look at, even it if is potentially dangerous. The risks are more than worth it.