Vanguard recently launched an innovative new At-Cost Café campaign to promote the firm’s at-cost mutual funds and ETFs. The firm has commissioned a real coffee truck to visit a number of cities along the east coast, selling coffee “at-cost” for $0.28 a cup, rather than the industry average of $1.38. The firm is using the campaign to call attention to Vanguard’s ETFs and mutual funds, which are promoted as being sold without the management fees charged by competitor firms.
What we find most interesting about this campaign is the minimal amount of traditional advertising used by Vanguard. In fact, the firm isn’t even marketing the truck on its public investor website. Instead, Vanguard is relying almost entirely on social media and digital word-of-mouth to promote the campaign and engage the masses.
Posts offering updates on the coffee truck’s location and operations are featured on both the Vanguard Facebook and Twitter pages. Vanguard has also created a clever AtCostCafe.com microsite containing photos, multimedia and information on the campaign and its core message. Visitors are encouraged to Like Vanguard on Facebook and comment on the campaign via Facebook at the bottom of the page. A live Twitter feed of tweets with the hashtag #AtCostCafe are also posted.
The At-Cost Café has already completed stops in New York and Philadelphia, and is rounding out the month with stops in Washington DC and Boston. The campaign has generated a lot of positive buzz for Vanguard in a short amount of time. It remains to be seen if any competitors will use a similar model for their social media efforts going forward.
Vanguard At-Cost Cafe Microsite – Top Banner & Twitter Feed (Left to Right)