Hops in a Box and the evolution of “involvement marketing”: beyond “engagement”

We’ve been working on a fun little campaign for Meantime Brewing, everyone’s favourite Greenwich-based craft brewers.

The brief we set ourselves was, in short, to come up with a way to get people not just engaged with Meantime as a brand, but to actually get them involved with it.

And Hops in a Box was the answer that we came up with in answer to our own question.

So there are, even now, a little over 12,000 Hops in a Box kits – created by the team at Hope&Glory PR and ably distributed across Meantime’s network of on-trade partners – in over 100 pubs in London and in Waitrose stores in the capital.

By all accounts, they’re going down a storm – with pubs and bars come up with all manner of slightly odd ways of showing off their new point-of-sale, from bar-to-ceiling pyramids to interior garden scenes (complete with gnomes).

And it’d appear (from Meantime’s social media at least) that the little boxes have got people talking too – with over 150 tweets about HiaB since we launched them last week. Not bad going for a piece of point-of-sale material really.

And, what’s more, we’ve had requests from across the UK for a box of Meantime Hops – as well as tweets from drinkers in Australia, the US, South Africa and France. I don’t think I’ve seen a crappy bar leaflet prompt that kind of response.

We’re expecting bags of chat over the course of the next few months as people start growing.

Anyway, that’s what we’ve been up to. But what does it point to?

Well, we’ve been working on a load of campaigns of late that we thought pointed to a new way of basing PR, social and experiential brand activity.

We’re experimenting with the term “involvement marketing”: basically, the notion that brands can create platforms – whether those are real things (like the Hops in a Box) or promotional incentives or experiences in which consumers can actually get INVOLVED. Not just engaged but INVOLVED.

And that means, in turn, that they spread the word, they “run” the campaign – by talking about it, tweeting about it, taking part in it.

It’s a scary place to be (because you have to believe that you’re creating a platform that people are going to want to talk about) and you only have so much control over where it might go.

But we think that, through a series of campaigns that we’ve worked on since the agency opened its doors – of which this is the latest – the notion of campaigns that involve the consumer in their development are the way forwards. Expect to see more of them soon …

In the meantime (ho ho), if anyone would like a Hops in a Box kit, do drop us an email …