Case Study: Petbarn ‘The Nosh Project’

16,235 pieces;
157 stores;
7 states;
5 designs;
2 phases; and
1 successful rollout of Petbarn’s ‘The Nosh Project’.

Here’s how Petbarn and Expo Centric successfully rolled out 159 activations for The Nosh Project into every Australian store… all the while in covid

With over 200 stores across Australia, Petbarn is the most established pet retailer in the country and sits under Greencross Limited. As covid hit in 2020, the love for our furry-friends strengthened as they became more like family members than pets. Petbarn celebrated this and launched their human grade pet nutrition range. The Nosh Project was ready to hit the shelves with a ready-made meal range developed by pet nutritionists and approved by vets.

Starting where all good ideas begin (aside from the shower), was a bluesky strategy session. One zoom call, two teams and a wealth of company knowledge brought together the creative ideas. Expo Centric took a deep dive into Petbarn, from understanding their target market and objectives, to the layout of their stores.

Their brief? Engaging. Adaptable. Multipliable. 

Engaging; An activation that greets owners with the same enthusiasm and energy that their guests experience when their dog greets them at the door. Taking it further, it was to be information driven. 

Adaptable; Alike pets shedding their winter coat the activation’s features were to be interchangeable throughout seasons. The opportunity to swap out brand and lifestyle graphics to forever be on trend. 

Multipliable; Like the tonnes of pet products you buy in store. Distributed across every store nationally, this activation was to be easily recreated for everyone to implement and enjoy. 

Next came the design phase. Filtering through a myriad of materials, finishes, sketches, lights, mood boards and more. A unanimous process of orchestrating research, ideas and concepts which crystalised three key principles.  

Attraction. The display was to go beyond ordinary. Instead a beacon of light drawing consumers to it, all the while denoting a sense of freshness and quality for the products held within. 

Authenticity. Using nostalgia to create graphic cues. The display was to form a connection between the product and a farmers’ market look and feel to harness a sense of fresh ingredients balanced by scientific formulation. 

Consistency. The Nosh Project is Australia wide. By being installed across 150 stores, it required materials and a design that promoted longevity. 

Following the design came the 3D visuals presented to the Petbarn team. The team could visualise the designs through still renders and an immersive Augmented Reality Experience.

The selected design.

It’s build time. 

The first 1:1 prototype was established to validate the design. As part of this, multiple print finish options were created to showcase lightboxes, storage and shelving. After review, improvements were implemented as part of phase 1 to 35 stores within New South Wales, ahead of rolling them out Australia wide. Simple? 

If only it were that simple! Enter the freezer dividers. A key “challenge”, or as we like to call a “project!”. The requirement included a high-quality invisible divider, allowing cool air to flow seamlessly between various sections of the freezer, all the while promoting the products in the range. And so began the cardboard mock ups. Piecing together potential sizing, design and functionality to land on a singular design which would later turn into 800 dividers to be delivered across Australia. Phase 1 provided the opportunity to understand any difficulties, like unsturdy freezer feet. From here, the team could go back to the drawing board and provide a secure alternative before distributing them across Australia. 

“The Expo Centric team were really responsive to work with. From their initial concept stage through to delivery they were thinking outside the box. Their interactivity, and capability of taking feedback was really good, as well as circling back with solutions and ideas that enhanced the project even further” –  Kylie Day, Technical Manager, Petbarn 

The green light’s been given and we’re off and away!

Not so fast – it’s peak covid with travel restrictions and borders closed. Different travel restrictions within each state meant Expo Centric was required to abide by the local restrictions which in some cases, meant certains regions within Victoria. Logistical curation between Expo Centric and 150 Petbarn stores saw a seamless delivery of over 15,000 parts. With locations from Darwin to Tasmania, from Sydney metro to Western Australia regional, Expo Centric dispatched a installation schedule seeing installation in up to three stores in a single day. 

The final hurdle involved installation. An incredible design, smart functionality and seamless delivery could not be undone by a fall in the installation. Initially each Nosh Project was to be installed by an Expo Centric expert, however with restrictions in place, travel was not feasible. A culmination of sending various team members from less restricted areas of Australia and relying on trusted industry partners facilitate the successful implementation. However, without being part of the initial build, challenges arose with understanding how to construct the activations. Our IKEA-self-build-thinking-hats were on, determined to ensure no “team-divorces” would occur mid-installation. In addition to a number of Zoom training sessions, along with each delivery was a manual, as well as step-by-step instructional video to follow along. 


The result? The Nosh Project is now active in 159 stores Australia wide (with no delays from covid). 

“The response from our customers has been really positive. Lockdown hampered the launch activities, however our Queensland stores have seen a really positive uptake. We have experienced higher than expected sales, and are finding customers are really engaging with the product and menus, wanting to learn more” – Kylie Day, Technical Manager, Petbarn 

That’s what we call; a success. 

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