Singles Night at the Supermarket

By: Sam Velonis

I recently stumbled across an article analyzing some of the unusual marketing tactics being used by Canadian grocery giant Metro. Within the article, author Chris Powell discusses Metro’s unorthodox marketing mix and explains why these bizarre advertising and promotion ideas are turning out to be rather successful.

Metro was the first and only grocery store to sponsor the World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto. To many, this may seem like a strange choice for Metro because fashion and food do not have much in common. However, sponsoring this event lined up perfectly with one of the company’s main missions to stand out with its advertising and promotion.

Metro didn’t stop there. The company went on to sponsor events like singles night, where single shoppers tied a red ribbon to their carts, and even offered a free movie screening in the parking lot of the Liberty Village store in downtown Toronto. The company hopes to rebrand itself by establishing a new reputation among its younger shoppers.

This all ties back to integrated marketing communications simply because marketing managers are continuously striving to communicate to potential customers through promotion. By sponsoring and hosting these types of events, Metro is able to communicate to its target audience by standing out and being unique. It is said that advertising and sales promotion are not typically personal in nature. It is interesting to see how Metro can have this type of connection with so many individuals all because of a few creative people that developed and revamped the company’s marketing mix.

These initiatives work to differentiate Metro from its competitors in an extremely saturated grocery market. With grocery chains offering nothing but cookie-cutter loyalty rewards programs it is certainly important to try to stand out from the crowd. In-store events and activities like the ones offered by Metro are a great way to help generate customer loyalty and spark an increase in business.

I would be interested in taking a look at the numbers after the implementation of these new marketing activities. I can see how a free movie night would be an enjoyable event to go to with the family and how a single shoppers night might make for a good laugh and experience but I am curious to see if there is any type of positive correlation between these events and sales. One would like to think that taking part in an event like singles night at a grocery store would make a customer more likely to shop at Metro in the future, but is this actually the case? Are these programs as successful as they appear? It is still too soon to find out, but I predict that over time Metro will see astounding results.

Nancy Modrcin, Senior Director of Marketing at Metro says, “When you’re introducing yourself to somebody new, you want to connect with them in a personal and relevant way,” and in my opinion Metro is doing a fantastic job at this. It is easy to see why these events are popular among shoppers. It just goes to show that sometimes it pays to be different and pays to think outside the box.


7 thoughts on “Singles Night at the Supermarket

  1. Mark Lindquist October 15, 2015 / 1:31 am


    I found this article fascinating and the supermarket’s idea was very well executed. This made me think of a section from the movie Ladder 49, where Joaquin Phoenix’s character was in a supermarket shopping and introduced himself to a young woman he found attractive. Later in the movie, he married her and started a family. Metro took a simple idea and gained first-mover advantage over other supermarkets, which of course were too skeptical to try promotions so unorthodox. The red ribbon for singles’ night was a funny but really sweet idea, because it personalizes the shopping experience, even if it is “looking for a relationship”. Also, any singles that did meet that night would recall their first meeting in the Metro supermarket, and never forget it.

    I think Metro showed that they were an interesting place to shop. People always love “freebies” and very few people would pass up a free movie with free snacks. Metro definitely separated itself from everyone else, because other supermarkets will be considered “copycats” if they attempt to copy Metro’s ideas. Metro basically invited anyone who was interested, simply to come to the supermarket and enjoy themselves, and take the stress away from food shopping which can sometimes be expensive and time-consuming.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sam Velonis November 12, 2015 / 5:10 pm


    Thanks for the feedback. I totally agree with you, I think that these out of the ordinary promotional offerings are gold. Communicating to customers through these exciting events is a great way for Metro to differentiate itself and make meaningful relationships with customers in an overly saturated market.


  3. Matthew E. Dulac December 4, 2015 / 7:48 pm

    I found the article and the presentation to be very interesting as well in that this is something that I hadn’t really thought of before. Despite that, it is actually a brilliant idea that may drive future purchases at the supermarket and this will increase revenues in the long run. What Metro has done by coming up with this idea is that they have set a precedent and they are the originators; anybody else who would do this would just be someone who stole the brilliant idea that Metro came up with. Even though this can be seen as a promotion, it is also a means for the company to be more involved with the community and people look at this in a positive manner. I personally would for example. It is a great way to attract young individuals to the store and it is also an interesting idea that will be discussed through word of mouth. This will create brand recognition and brand awareness that will positively impact the company and its future goals and aspirations.


  4. Patrick Coskren December 5, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    Sam, I thought this article and concept was absolutely brilliant. This generates a platform where one is combining their wants and needs in one place. On the one hand, there are those who have to travel to the grocery store for their weekly food and the others who are looking for a relationship. By holding this type of event at a grocery store you are offering an experience at commonplace that many people would have never experienced before. It is that fact that I find the most interesting. They are trying to turn to have something ordinary be extraordinary.


  5. Adam Chadbourne December 6, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    This article was definitely something I did not expect, but that seems to be the idea of Metro. I never thought a grocery store would have something like singles night or a free movie night, but it does offer something out of the ordinary. Usually, supermarkets may bring in customers with sales on products, but a singles night could be effective. People could start going to Metro on a weekly basis just so they can do their food shopping while looking for a potential soul mate. I think people could be drawn to go to these events just for having the opportunity to tell people that they met their boyfriend/girlfriend during a singles night at a grocery store. The free movie nights can also bring in business just because of them not being common for a grocery store. Metro’s ideas seem so unusual that they may actually be genius.


  6. Melanie Barbarula December 8, 2015 / 5:15 am

    The concept of an unorthodox marketing mix is a differentiation strategy if i’ve ever seen one!
    Metro is definitely shaking it’s new kid on the grocery block image with their “off- script” marketing initiatives: sponsorships of fashion week, food festivals, and events for singles and movie nights. The word of month marketing that follow one of these events is like rapid wildfire, spreading so fast it is uncontrollable.
    They are touching an untapped market with their innovative ideas and their willingness to think outside the box.
    I think their “off-script” marketing initiatives will prove fruitful and attract more business in the long run.


  7. Ashleigh Sargent December 9, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    I agree with other comments that this is a really interesting marketing strategy. I remember reading somewhere that places like the grocery store and even the gym are common, “everyday” places where singles actually have the opportunity to really meet and interact with other people. With such a rise in online dating and different methods of connecting with other people, I think this is actually a great strategy for Metro. They gain exposure, build loyalty from singles, and potentially give people a nice experience in their stores. I will be interested to see if other grocery stores or other types of retailers adapt unique strategies like this to appeal to consumers through an integrated marketing mix.


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