Scoops Ahoy: A Bitchin’ Experiential Marketing Tactic by Baskin-Robbins [Photos]

Date:

Share post:

By Bruce Winder

As my two Gen Z daughters and I walked into the Fantasy Fair section in Toronto’s Woodbine Centre mall to check out the promotional Baskin-Robbins shop turned Scoops Ahoy rebrand, the irony of the situation was not lost on me. Back in the mid–to- late 1980’s this mall was my hangout.  I fondly remember late one summer Saturday evening when my buddy and I had a couple of wobbly pops at the bar on the first floor and proceeded to walk through the kids train tunnel.  We tripped a few censors and were swiftly thrown out by the night security guard. 

As you all know, the third season of Netflix’s wildly popular “Stranger Things” takes place in the mid 1980s, home to the new Starcourt mall in Hawkins, Indiana. One of the major locations in the series is the local ice cream hangout Scoops Ahoy, where Steve and Robin work.  The mall also pays homage to a retro Gap, JC Penney, Orange Julius and many more retailers from that era.

The rebrand is a brilliant move on the part of Baskin-Robbins as it creates an excitement that is often lost in today’s retail environment.  One could argue that “Stranger Things” is one of the hottest properties at this moment and connects with so many generations at once. The promotion mixes entertainment with bricks and mortar, which is an emerging trend. Although this rebrand is only temporary (runs from July 4th to July 16th) it catapults Baskin-Robbins from a sleepy legacy brand to one that is on point and topical.  After all, the ice cream store business has changed a lot.

HOARDING DISGUISING THE SURPRISE TRANSFORMATION PHOTO: WOODBINE MALL VIA FACEBOOK

A few shops down from the former Baskin-Robbins is a Sweet Jesus location.  Sweet Jesus is just one of the many new ice cream concepts that target Gen Z and millennials with exotic, premium, Instagram-worthy portions. For the moment anyway, the crowd was all around Scoops Ahoy and not its competitor. We even saw a family that had on their Stranger Things shirts and no doubt made this a planned Saturday afternoon adventure. Most of the customers spent as much time snapping photos as enjoying the ice cream.  As one of only 2 Baskin-Robbins stores to rebrand during this time (the other is in Burbank, California) in which July is also national ice cream month, the promotion adds a flavour of exclusivity and sense of urgency that plays on the FOMO (fear of missing out) phenomenon.

Overall, the rebrand was nicely done within a reasonable budget. Overhead signage was changed as well as the look of the menu board. The menu was modified for the promotion to include a few special Stranger Things flavours and desserts such as: U.S.S Butterscotch Sundae, Byers’ House Lights Polar Pizza, Upside Down Pralines, Elevenade Freeze and a Demogorgon Sundae.

The only major disconnect I walked away with was, why Woodbine Centre? The Baskin-Robbins management team says they chose Woodbine because it felt very 80s. Although I have a personal affinity for the mall, sadly it has lost much of its lustre from over 30 years ago. More of a value mall, it offers a home to numerous tier 3 or 4 chains or independent start-ups. Compared to its rich cousin just a few minutes south, luxury CF Sherway Gardens, Woodbine Centre seems an odd place for such a high profile promotion. Maybe like the characters on Stranger Things, this 80s jewel is having a moment in the sun.


Bruce Winder is a retail expert, speaker, professor and entrepreneur. He has been interviewed dozens of times on main stream media such as BNN – Bloomberg, CBC, CTV News, CP24, Breakfast TV and more. Bruce has also been quoted hundreds of times in publications such as The Washington Post, BBC, The Globe & Mail, The Financial Post, The Toronto Star, Strategy, Adweek and many more. Bruce has 25 + years experience in big retail, manufacturing and consulting and holds an MBA from The Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. He offers keynote, session and moderator services on topics such as: retail, e-commerce, online shopping, consumer trends, cannabis and Amazon.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

One Bloor East in Toronto Secures Nike Flagship and Mango as Key Retail Tenants [Exclusive]

First Capital REIT has leased-out the entire retail podium at the iconic Yonge and Bloor corner, including space to another new tenant in the main-floor space formerly occupied by Nordstrom Rack.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ken Keelor, CEO of Calgary Co-op

After moving to Canada from India in 1995, Keelor began working at Save-on-Foods and then other major retailers as his career progressed upwards.

Unprecedented Opportunity for Canadian Retailers to Sell to Consumers in China Online

China is the world’s largest online consumer market, and it is projected to grow for years to come.

Modern Golf Opening Innovative Golf Social Experience in Downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place [Interview]

The 8,500-square-foot Financial District space will feature multiple bays, bars, lounge areas, and partnerships with Food Dudes for food and beverage offerings, marking a significant shift in the company's growth strategy.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gears Up for Nationwide Expansion in Canada with Innovative Store Formats [Interview]

New locations in new markets are planned, including a mix of Doughnut Café concepts and manufacturing locations for the public called 'Theatre Hubs'.

Robson Street in Vancouver in Flux as New Retailers Prepare to Open Stores [Feature]

The street is seeing new retailers prepare to open, including a prominent corner that is about to see some very big changes and a potential luxury mall nearby cancelled.

Wendy’s Bold Dynamic Pricing Move Has its Positives and Negatives [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses the unusual move by Wendy's in the US to implement dynamic pricing, and how it could benefit the business while potentially turning off consumers.

Growing Crisis in Retail Inventory in Canada as Factory Direct Liquidates Stores [Interview]

The founder of A.D. Hennick & Associates says he's seeing overwhelming demand to liquidate inventory, indicating a concerning trend in the industry as more retailers look to insolvency.

Here’s What We Can Learn from Canada’s Response to Inflation in the 1980s and 1990s [Op-Ed]

Younger, poorer households have disproportionately suffered because their price index is skewed more toward food and shelter, say the authors.

Food Preferences in Canada Changing as Millennial and Gen Z Demographics Shift [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses Canada's aging population and how younger consumers are shifting the grocery food landscape.

Henry Singer Unveils Downtown Edmonton Flagship Store at the ICE District, Featuring a Bar, Barber and Shoe Shine [Photos/Interview]

Jordan Singer discusses how the upscale menswear retailer recently relocated its Edmonton flagship store from Manulife Place into a 10,000 square foot space at the base of Western Canada's tallest building.

Canadian Retail Sales Dip: Year-End Drop in Discretionary Spending [J.C. Williams Group Analysis]

2023 Canadian retail sales ended in a lacklustre way, with controlled consumer spending amid a tumultuous year.

Landlord QuadReal Launches Pickleball Courts in Commercial Properties to Create Consumer Experience [Interview/Photos]

The initiative helps revitalize and re-imagine spaces using sustainable development practices, while incorporating the latest technology to enhance the visitor experience, blending physical and digital elements.

Canadian Consumers Willing to Switch Grocery Stores while Seeking Bargains: Study [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that a new survey offers a rigorous look into the preferences and behaviours shaping the future of grocery shopping in Canada.

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

One Bloor East in Toronto Secures Nike Flagship and Mango as Key Retail Tenants [Exclusive]

First Capital REIT has leased-out the entire retail podium at the iconic Yonge and Bloor corner, including space to another new tenant in the main-floor space formerly occupied by Nordstrom Rack.

Anatomy of a Leader: Ken Keelor, CEO of Calgary Co-op

After moving to Canada from India in 1995, Keelor began working at Save-on-Foods and then other major retailers as his career progressed upwards.

Unprecedented Opportunity for Canadian Retailers to Sell to Consumers in China Online

China is the world’s largest online consumer market, and it is projected to grow for years to come.

Modern Golf Opening Innovative Golf Social Experience in Downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place [Interview]

The 8,500-square-foot Financial District space will feature multiple bays, bars, lounge areas, and partnerships with Food Dudes for food and beverage offerings, marking a significant shift in the company's growth strategy.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gears Up for Nationwide Expansion in Canada with Innovative Store Formats [Interview]

New locations in new markets are planned, including a mix of Doughnut Café concepts and manufacturing locations for the public called 'Theatre Hubs'.

Robson Street in Vancouver in Flux as New Retailers Prepare to Open Stores [Feature]

The street is seeing new retailers prepare to open, including a prominent corner that is about to see some very big changes and a potential luxury mall nearby cancelled.

Wendy’s Bold Dynamic Pricing Move Has its Positives and Negatives [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses the unusual move by Wendy's in the US to implement dynamic pricing, and how it could benefit the business while potentially turning off consumers.

Growing Crisis in Retail Inventory in Canada as Factory Direct Liquidates Stores [Interview]

The founder of A.D. Hennick & Associates says he's seeing overwhelming demand to liquidate inventory, indicating a concerning trend in the industry as more retailers look to insolvency.

Here’s What We Can Learn from Canada’s Response to Inflation in the 1980s and 1990s [Op-Ed]

Younger, poorer households have disproportionately suffered because their price index is skewed more toward food and shelter, say the authors.

Food Preferences in Canada Changing as Millennial and Gen Z Demographics Shift [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses Canada's aging population and how younger consumers are shifting the grocery food landscape.

Henry Singer Unveils Downtown Edmonton Flagship Store at the ICE District, Featuring a Bar, Barber and Shoe Shine [Photos/Interview]

Jordan Singer discusses how the upscale menswear retailer recently relocated its Edmonton flagship store from Manulife Place into a 10,000 square foot space at the base of Western Canada's tallest building.

Canadian Retail Sales Dip: Year-End Drop in Discretionary Spending [J.C. Williams Group Analysis]

2023 Canadian retail sales ended in a lacklustre way, with controlled consumer spending amid a tumultuous year.

Landlord QuadReal Launches Pickleball Courts in Commercial Properties to Create Consumer Experience [Interview/Photos]

The initiative helps revitalize and re-imagine spaces using sustainable development practices, while incorporating the latest technology to enhance the visitor experience, blending physical and digital elements.

Canadian Consumers Willing to Switch Grocery Stores while Seeking Bargains: Study [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that a new survey offers a rigorous look into the preferences and behaviours shaping the future of grocery shopping in Canada.

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.