Defining 'ampm'

BP declares franchise personality with Chicago, Atlanta ad campaigns

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

CHICAGO -- The average Joe and Jane consumer in Atlanta and Chicago are now getting a taste of the personality behind ampm, BP's West Coast convenience store franchise that is replacing the major oil company's direct-op retail strategy nationwide.

In a whirl of advertising that includes whimsical billboard sequences, humorous TV commercials and even Guitar Hero III tournaments, BP is putting its financial muscle into brand awareness, defining a personality that evokes fun and indulgence. Officials told CSP Daily News that the package also includes online advertising, radio spots and sports [image-nocss] sponsorships of the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves baseball teams.

"The advertising talks a lot about indulgence and how ampms are an 'adult candy store'," Evelyn Borgatta, account director, Ogilvy & Mather West, Los Angeles, told CSP Daily News. "The commercials encourage people to do things like mix the fountain drinks…to convey that ampms are a fun place to be and to shop."

While declining to say how much the London-based BP is spending on its ad pushes in the two markets, Andrew Baird, vice president of marketing and merchandising for the ampm franchise, said ampm is an "edgy" brand, with in-store graphics and point-of-purchase material designed to communicate that image.

In exclusive interviews with CSP, Baird and Fiona MacLeod, BP's president of U.S. convenience retail, said the ampm franchise—with its combination of hot-food and beverage offers, condiment bar, fountain drinks, baked goods and proprietary merchandise—is a proven concept that hits squarely with the male, 18-to-35-year-old target market, as well as other demographics.

The "Too Much Good Stuff" ads focus on how ampm carries all the items needed to satisfy a customer's on-the-go cravings, with the message coming through in several inventive ways:

Video-game competitions. Partnering with the makers of the Guitar Hero III, BP sponsored competitions that were held at ampm sites throughout the Chicago and Atlanta markets last month. Indulgent commercials. In the commercials, youthful actors go through humorous scenarios, including one with two guys who end up building a miniature house with corn-dog sticks and another with a man hunting through the store looking for a cart to gather all the stuff he wants. For a look at one commercial, click the Download Now button below. Inventive billboards. The billboards in the Chicago area are sequential, starting with a collage of dozens of proprietary and brand-name snacks, candy, soda, coffee and food items covering the entire space. Over the course of several weeks, the items slowly disappear, revealing the ampm logo and the "Too Much Good Stuff" slogan beneath. To execute this, BP's ad agency created four separate versions of the billboard that replace each other, revealing more of the logo and slogan.

"The billboard ads precede the commercials, to get people thinking, 'What is this? Who is it for?'," Borgatta said. "It'll all tie into the TV and radio to make it a 'tease and reveal'—a visual representation of what we stand for. What better way to convey the ampm essence of 'Too Much Good Stuff' than to show it?"

The marketing efforts typically last 60 days, according to Baird, with TV and radio advertising in some markets done in English and Spanish.

BP is currently in the process of transforming its company-operated stores to the ampm franchise, putting on the block about 700 properties in markets across the country.

Click hereto read more about BP's big transition in the April issue of CSP magazine
Click here to view an exclusive interview with McLeod and Baird.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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