Vibenomics adds second large grocery retailer


Vibenomics has made another big score by adding another major grocery retailer as a partner.

The Fishers-based company offers Audio Out-of-Home advertising and audio for retailers. It first created a partnership with Kroger in July 2020 for its 2,500 stores nationwide.

Vibenomics announced a partnership with Hy-Vee Jan. 18 to put audio advertising in more than 400 locations across the Midwest. Vibenomics will bring targeted, specialized music and messaging into Hy-Vee-owned and operated stores starting Feb. 15.

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“Winning Kroger was obviously a big deal, not just for our scale but for the eyes of the industry, the agencies and brands we sell advertising to,” said Paul Brenner, chief security officer for Vibenomics and president of AOOH. “The main question is, when will you get more (grocery retailers)? When you push that first big one over, everyone wants to know when the next one is going to come.”

Brenner said the relationship with Hy-Vee adds key markets, with Minneapolis/St. Paul and Kansas City. Hy-Vee is in eight states now and has plans to expand into Indiana with its first store in Zionsville in 2023.

“It changed the perception of the buying community and expanding the footprint they can invest in,” Brenner said of the partnership with Hy-Vee. “This is our second substantial grocery partner.”

Brenner said the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the company’s ability to expand.

“As the world changed to somewhat back to normal, people started to talk to us again,” he said. “Hy-Vee was the first one to jump on it and we’ll have more in the near future.”

Hy-Vee has plans to expand into Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

Brenner said Vibenomics’ audio also is in convenience store locations, such as Kwik Trip, Thorntons and GetGo.

“The retailers like it because it’s good for the customer experience,” Brenner said. “We play good music and match it up to their typical shopper, so they love that. It then talks to (the customer) about a product that is available to them in the store. We have other advertisers that don’t have anything to do with the store, like the (Indiana) Dept. of Health will run ads of vaccinations. Local events, like Live Nation, will run ads, but our No. 1 buyer is advertisers of products in the store.”

Vibenomics was co-founded by Brent Oakley in 2016. Oakley is the co-founder of the Prime Car Wash stores.

“He started the audio service to put in his own (Prime Car Wash) stores and expanded it out to other retailers,” Brenner said.

Brenner joined Vibenomics in 2019 after being an executive at Emmis Communications for 22 years.

“I spent a lot of time in audio and the advertising space,” Brenner said. “It’s been a fun, nice change of pace.”