By Aimee Chanthadavong

The Co-op has launched an exclusive retail initiative called the ‘Brand Experience Program’ where eight youth brands will get access to its database of over 450,000 university students.

The company’s top 20 stores located at university campuses across Australia will be home to eight brand partners for an exclusivity period of four weeks.

Greg Smith, the Co-op chief marketing officer, said the brand marketing initiative will give youth centric brands access to a previously closed community and follows the company’s ongoing transformation project.

“We’ve grown out store footprints, we’ve remerchandised and we have driven people back into our stores as they’re starting to experience other things beyond the Co-op being traditionally known for academic books,” he said.

“So what we’ve realised is that we have a strong retail footprint and we’re the only retailer that has access to the 19-29 demographic. And given we’re now at a good place we are inviting eight youth brands to tailor their brand experience to targeting those youths within our university stores.”

Without revealing who the first eight brands will be, Smith said they’re household names ready to market their products during the busiest time for the Co-op.

The brands will be given full creative freedom to design and implement their own brand strategy in their pop-up kiosk stores. They will also be given access to the Co-op’s active student database.

“It’s an incredibly value-added experience for them,” Smith said.

“We have the space and they have a need so what better what have them embedded in our stores for a month.”

The Brand Experience Program will be an annual event. Smith said eight brands per year will have the opportunity to apply.