Shipt's Biggest Campaign Stars Issa Rae

There's no shortage of delivery companies vying for consumers' attention, and Shipt wants to be at the top of people's shopping lists. So the Birmingham, Alabama-based company is launching its biggest ad campaign ever. The in-house effort aims to build awareness, emphasizing how easy it is for people to get that green bag on their doorstep. Alia Kemet, chief marketing officer, explains.

Retail Insider: You joined Shipt seven months ago from McCormick and were at Ikea before that. What's Shipt like? How do you describe the brand to people?

Alia Kemet: We want people to think that Shipt will support them in their lives. I think of it as a brand that helps me clone myself. There are so many things people need to get done, and Shipt shows up to help, delivering important needs. It brings joy and benefits the people you care about the most.



Retail Insider: Target owns Shipt, so many shoppers know the brand because of that connection. And you've expanded to deliver for other retailers. Where else are people likely to meet the brand?

Kemet: Besides Target and our other partners, there's word of mouth. A big part of this campaign is about increasing brand awareness, especially in social channels.

Retail Insider: People can get packages delivered by Uber, Instacart, Gopuff and Amazon, just to name a few. Which companies are your main competitors?

Kemet: I don't think about direct head-to-head competitors. I'm more about making sure we are relevant, especially given the macroeconomics we're dealing with. This is more about people's time. They're living their lives and wanting to get time back in their day. So that's the ultimate competitive question: Do they want to use us, or do they want to do the shopping themselves?

Retail Insider: This campaign stars Issa Rae, who most people know from YouTube's "Awkward Black Girl" and HBO's "Insecure." Why did you choose her?

Kemet: As we developed the campaign, it's all about how Shipt delivers delight by helping people solve everyday problems and connecting them to trusted and loved retailers. We wanted someone approachable and multifaceted. Our customers tend to have many different things happening in their lives. They're the type of people who might need to clone themselves because they need some extra help.

Issa Rae is that person -- she's a writer, producer and entrepreneur. And she fits our brand values. We're committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and she's known for that. She's also kind of like the ultimate friend, the person who is invited everywhere and everyone wants to hang out with. She was on the top of my list from day one.

Retail Insider: Besides casting someone who's well known for content about race, how else does that DEI commitment show in the campaign?

Kemet: One is the choice of director Lawrence Lamont. We used a woman-owned and founded production company. DEI is important to us and makes for great work. So much of it comes down to authenticity, who we are as a brand and who she [Issa Rae] is as a person. The people in the ads? They're her real friends! That authenticity comes across in the work.

Retail Insider: Where will the ads run?

Kemet: This is the largest paid campaign Shipt has ever done, and we're thinking of it as the brand launch, where we're truly telling our story. You'll see ads everywhere, including broadcast, cable, podcasts, digital banners and social media. And, of course, on all our owned assets. Later this summer, we'll start doing different things with the campaign on social media to build buzz as we extend into the back-to-college and holiday season.

Retail Insider: And it's all done in-house?

Kemet: Yes. I have a wonderful team, and they know our brand architecture and identity. And we've put a lot into our work on brand purpose, and that's laid a strong foundation.

Retail Insider: What metrics are you watching most closely?

Kemet: We want to increase both aided and unaided brand awareness. Membership is key, too – we want more people to join. Engagement is also important. But awareness is most important. And I'm confident that we will reach our goals very quickly.

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