After our successful pedicab pop-up adventure during SXSW 2017, Soylent concocted another novel idea to promote their meal replacement drink. “Instead of focusing on downtown, why don’t we go to West Campus?”
Each academic year, approximately 20,000 college students live in West Campus, which is about half a square mile in size and is directly adjacent to the University of Texas at Austin campus.
In my opinion, it is a surprisingly underappreciated market. In the 10 years that I have been involved with the local pedicab industry, Soylent is the first to have ever actively campaigned there.
Soylent selected the following options for their campaign:
Distribution, Driver branding, and Driver-for-hire, from our Driver engagement menu. The pedicab drivers were provided Soylent-branded t-shirts and hats, and they provided free rides for 4 hours (from 8 AM to 12 PM) for the first five days of the Fall academic semester, for a total of 120 hours. Specifically, we only went to West Campus when classes were scheduled; we didn’t go there on the weekend.
We gave the students free drinks and free rides to school. Our conservative estimates are that we distributed 1,800 drinks, and gave 300 rides. Approximately 1 in 10 West Campus residents received a free drink. Oh, wow, I’d never calculated it like that before – that’s really impressive.
When that stretch of the campaign concluded, Soylent then asked us if we could do the exact same at the first two UT Longhorns college football games. The Soylent-branded pedicab drivers provided free rides for a total of 48 hours and distributed even more product. (A UT football game is attended by some 100,000 fans, not including all of the tailgaters.)