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A Melbourne start-up has created a new product sampling and brand experience marketplace that promises to take activations well beyond supermarkets and train stations.

Brandcrush, the brain child of Teresa Aprile and Matthew Hurle, has already matched big brands like Ferrero, Bondi Sands, Califia almond milk, Bega Cheese, The Chia Co and Tom Organic with activation hosts such as Luna Park, Bondi’s Bucket List and XTend Barre.

Aprile is a marketing and brand development specialist, and Hurle is a marketplace growth specialist and founding sales director at influencer marketplace, TRIBE.

The Brandcrush platform went live in Australia in September last year, and it already has more than 600 activation spaces on the site, and is growing rapidly, according to its founders, who say they have plans to take the model overseas next year.

Traditional hit-and-miss mass sampling campaigns and sponsorship-based events are often high cost, low return, and as a result see consumers bombarded with brands and products that aren’t relevant to them, Aprile says.

Brandcrush, in contrast, has been designed to simplify and boost the activation options for brands, and to better match the brand with the host in the form of non-traditional yet highly targeted live spaces, she says.

“Brandcrush helps brands cut through the clutter and get the attention of consumers by integrating with their day-to-day activities.

“From yoga studios to hair salons, cafés, events, and even corporate offices, any space can become an ‘activation host’ on Brandcrush and get paid to distribute product samples or host brand activations.”

The intimate and relevant nature of these collaborations also means consumers receive brand introductions from businesses they already know and trust, Aprile says.

Activation hosts also produce a Proof of Activation report that includes Instagram-ready photos of the activation, and insightful consumer feedback.In one recent Brandcrush campaign, Queensland snack brand Picky Picky Peanuts offered free samples to barbers and bottle shops.

In another campaign, beauty brand Bondi Sands sampled its new suncare range at popular spaces such as The Bucket List on Bondi Beach, Beachcombers Cafe, and West Beach Pavillion in St Kilda.

“Brandcrush made it easy to book and activate a volume of spaces that aligned with our brand objectives,” Bondi Sands brand manager Clare Slater says.

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