In Latest Play for City-Dwellers, P&G and Walmart Take Inspiration From Food Trucks

Can Concept Work as Well for Shampoo as It Does Tacos?

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Kimchi taco truck, make way for Pamper's Cruisers.

This week Procter and Gamble and launched a joint, month-long initiative to increase the brands' footprint in big cities. The effort features virtual "pop-up" stores at Chicago bus stops and a "food truck"-style mobile hub in Manhattan, replete with P&G products.

With Amazon's increasing dominance in urban areas -- where quick delivery is much more convenient than big-box retailers are accessible -- this tactic aims to bring "large consumables" such as giant bags of Iams dog food, heavy jugs of Tide detergent, and oversized boxes of Pampers Cruisers (all of which are carried in the trucks) directly to the consumer, who would otherwise have to lug them around on foot.

And it's doing so by employing a combination of mobile, social and real-time commerce.

The "@PGMobile" trucks, as they're being called, are stationed throughout New York in heavily trafficked locales, such as Union Square and the Fashion District, but instead of just tweeting their locations to potential customers, Twitter users are able to tweet requests to bring the trucks right to their apartment or office.

There are some restrictions, noted Chad Brizendine, brand manager, Walmart Grooming and, P&G -- namely, that they must account for permits and city ordinances in determining exactly where the trucks can park.

Will P&G become a permanent fixture alongside New York's beloved food trucks? While some New Yorkers would no doubt love to have a truck full of grooming supplies pull up at a moment's tweet, this is more a limited-time stunt to raise awareness for's delivery service.

The trucks have giant QR codes that drive patrons to Walmart's e-commerce hub, which touts free shipping, so long as one hits the minimum price tag of $45.

"We look forward to seeing results of this initiative in Chicago and New York," Mr. Brizendine said. "While I can't elaborate on our plans going forward, we know reaching the urban consumer is a big opportunity for us and we are committed to finding the right to better serve this consumer."

The initiative was mainly led by P&G, according to a Walmart spokesperson, despite the fact that the retailer seems to be reaping the most direct benefit. "After customers see and learn about products on the P&G mobile trucks, they can purchase those items online at," the spokesperson said.

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