Zulily Partners With Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone to Take the Stress Out of School Lunch Planning
Last month, online retailer Zulily and Michelin-starred celebrity chef — and dad of two — Curtis Stone ("Iron Chef," "Top Chef Masters," "Top Chef Jr.") teamed up to take the stress out of back-to-school lunchbox planning. The back-to-school season puts a lot of pressure on parents’ wallets, especially at the grocery store, where food prices are increasing. Furthermore, time is limited now that they not only have to get kids to school on time each day, but also worry about what’s in their lunchbox.
To help parents save time, money, and reduce the stress of back-to-school prep, Zulily and Stone launched a back-to-school recipe guide with easy, nutritious and wallet-friendly recipes for kids of all ages. Each recipe costs less than $30 and can be made in 30 minutes or less, and is paired with must-have kitchen products to help whip these meals up.
In an exclusive interview with Total Retail, Zulily Chief Marketing Officer Denise Jaeschke discussed the strategy behind this partnership, how it helped parents save time and money as well as reduce the chore of the back-to-school season.
Total Retail: Zulily has announced a back-to-school partnership with celebrity chef Curtis Stone. What does the partnership entail?
Denise Jaeschke: Back-to-school is a stressful time of year for parents. In fact, our research shows 55 percent of parents find school shopping is more stressful than the holiday season. We partnered with Curtis Stone to help parents reduce that stress by creating simple, inexpensive and delicious recipes filled with nutrients to fuel kids’ growth. There’s a recipe for everyone, from grade schoolers to college-bound first-time cooks, each taking less than 30 minutes and $30 to make. Curtis also curated cooking tips, along with his favorite kitchen gadgets to make back-to-school meal prep easy, affordable and fun.
TR: Why is Curtis Stone the right person for Zulily to partner with for this campaign?
DJ: Curtis Stone is a Michelin-starred chef and dad of two school-age boys who focuses on inexpensive, delicious and easy recipes. He understands the stress parents are under as they prepare for the new school year and how hard it is to put quick-fix, healthy meals on the table, which supports Zulily’s mission to help moms reduce stress and chores on their back-to-school to-do lists.
TR: How are you creating the connection between content and commerce in this back-to-school campaign?
DJ: We focus across the entire customer experience on mobile and digital channels to create a compelling shopping experience where we really become the preferred destination for moms to shop for great brands at amazing prices. One way we achieve this is by delivering the right piece of content, at the right time, and on or in the right platform, whether that’s email, mobile, TikTok, Instagram, and more. We show her amazing daily deals on the things kids need, great savings on top brands, and engaging visual content that’s fun, relevant and cohesive across all customer touchpoints.
TR: What's the marketing strategy for Zulily to create consumer awareness around its back-to-school product offerings?
DJ: Parents start their back-to-school shopping early, with 50 percent beginning as early as the start of summer break. We launched our annual Back-to-School Shop earlier than ever on June 16 to allow parents to buy ahead of the rush, which we know saves them time, money and reduces stress. Our customers feel like they win when their wallet wins too, so we executed across the marketing funnel to highlight savings on the brands kids love, helping parents prepare for the next school year without breaking the bank or spending time on tedious comparison shopping.
TR: Who is the target for Zulily's back-to-school marketing efforts? Parents? Kids? A combination of the two? How does the brand create the right balance in its marketing messaging?
DJ: Our marketing strategy targets parents, primarily moms, who love finding great deals on the brands they trust. We targeted our customers’ nostalgia for school by pairing marketing messaging with visuals that evoke the emotions that come with heading back to school, such as kids in their home getting ready for the school day with the help of products they can find at Zulily at a great value.
TR: What are the business benefits that Zulily is targeting from its back-to-school campaign with Curtis Stone?
DJ: Partnering with Curtis Stone allows us to increase brand awareness by connecting with his community, which consists of busy parents who are looking for ways to maximize their time and budgets. In doing so, we’re able to amplify and highlight the value we provide in our customers’ lives through great brands at great prices, and help more parents reduce their back-to-school to-do lists.
Related story: An Inside Look at Zulily's Back-to-School Strategy