Instacart makes a big NFL ad play

The same-day grocery delivery platform launched its first major marketing campaign with a CPG brand, Michelob Ultra, with a shoppable ad that guides shoppers into purchasing game-day snacks and drinks.
Instacart partnered with Michelob Ultra on a shoppable ad. / Photo courtesy: Instacart

Instacart is ramping up its CPG marketing efforts.

The same-day grocery delivery platform on Wednesday announced its first major co-marketing campaign with a consumer packaged goods brand.

The grocery tech firm partnered with Michelob Ultra on a campaign that runs during the upcoming NFL playoff games and allows viewers to shop for game-day snacks and drinks by scanning a QR code in the ad. It’s the first-ever shoppable TV commercial for Anheuser-Busch, Instacart said.

In the Michelob Ultra ad starring former NFL quarterback Tony Romo, soccer player Alex Morgan and boxer Canelo Álvarez, consumers are urged to stock up on the beer by scanning a QR code. The link takes shoppers to a Michelob Ultra page on Instacart, from which they can add other products.

Instacart Michelob ad

Instacart partnered with Michelob Ultra on a shoppable ad. / Photo courtesy: Instacart

“Over the last year, Instacart’s brand and full-funnel suite of advertising solutions have grown to reflect our maturing business and evolution from a transactional to inspirational experience,” CMO Laura Jones said in a blog post. “Partnering with Michelob Ultra for a campaign of this magnitude leverages both of our brands’ equity and expertise to deliver Michelob Ultra directly to football fans’ doorsteps. Our omnichannel strategy aims to reach millions of consumers across screens and enrich their game-day experience without them having to leave their family and friends.”

Instacart called the new campaign one of its “significant investments to enable CPG brand partners to create campaigns that truly deliver.”

The marketing effort also includes co-branded activations across Instacart’s platform as well as shoppable media on its app and in its emails, push notifications and social posts.

Instacart game day ad

Instacart is launching a pop-up store on its platform to sell snacks and drinks for football-watching. / Photo courtesy: Instagram

Through Feb. 12, Instacart is launching a game-day pop-up in its app, quickly connecting shoppers with more than 40 consumer brands, including PepsiCo beverages, Frito-Lay chips, DiGiorno pizza and more.

Instacart has been ramping up its retail media offerings for several years. In 2020, the company launched a suite of advertising solutions for alcohol brands.

Advertising could potentially become an all-important revenue channel for Instacart as its grocery delivery model, which exploded in popularity in the pandemic’s early days, falters due to changing consumer habits and regulatory shifts.

Late last month, San Francisco-based Instacart said it was continuing to phase out in-store grocery shopping operations for curbside pickup orders at select grocers, an expansion of a move that began in 2021 with the launch of the company’s Partner Pick program.

Once reportedly valued at $39 billion, Instacart filed preliminary documents for an initial public offering in May. A few weeks ago, though, the company reportedly slashed its internal valuation to around $10 billion. It has shelved its IPO plans.

Twice last year, Instacart was ordered to pay millions in labor-related disputes, including a $45.6 million settlement in San Diego and a $5.2 million one in San Francisco. At issue is whether gig workers for companies like Instacart are employees or independent contractors.

In October, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposed rule change that would reclassify many independent contractors—such as drivers for Instacart, DoorDash and Uber Eats—as employees. Employees are guaranteed a minimum wage and other benefits not legally extended to contractors.



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