Agency EP+Co Shows Love to New York Bodegas in New Film Series

The campaign spotlights the cultural cornerstones and the communities they serve

Leaders from Glossier, Shopify, Mastercard and more will take the stage at Brandweek to share what strategies set them apart and how they incorporate the most valued emerging trends. Register to join us this September 23–26 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The bodega has transcended the bounds of language barriers and cultural differences to become an inherent and essential part of New York neighborhoods. After all, there are few places where you can get shampoo, headphones and a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich all at the same place.

As a way to celebrate and give back to New York bodegas, agency EP+Co launched “Back the Bodega,” a special dedication to these community cornerstones. The campaign features three short films that highlight the people behind them and the importance of supporting small businesses.

For EP+Co, “Back the Bodega” presented an opportunity to build a story from within by interacting with neighborhood residents and collaborating with directors and production companies local to the area. Through this series, the agency hopes to drive more traffic to the stores and put more money into the pocket of the owners by helping their bodegas thrive.

“What makes this project so unique—and a story worth telling—is our topic,” John Cornette, chief creative officer at EP+Co, said in a statement. “The bodega is a huge part of NYC culture that hasn’t been given much attention. ‘Bodega love’ is strong in New York but it’s not top of mind for most people outside of the city. If bodegas went away, there would be a tremendous impact on the fabric of the city’s culture. We wanted to point out just how significant they, and the people who run them, are.”

The three one-minute spots were directed, shot and produced independently from each other to convey that bodegas mean something different to everyone with each film highlighting a different shop and owner. Putting a spotlight on the three bodegas—Nur Grocery Two, Broadway Food Mart and Manny’s Detox—the films captured the unique role they play in New Yorkers’ lives. Nur tells the story of a couple coming in to explore what the store has to offer and how it is often the center for its community. Broadway Food Mart’s film highlights the Chinese community and culture. Finally, Manny’s Detox shows just how ingrained New York culture is in bodegas with a variety of different people having fun while getting their late night snack.




A corner full of culture and community

Since the start of the pandemic, bodega and convenience store owners and grocery store workers have been deemed essential workers, but are often overlooked when it comes to needing support and resources. Although other brands such as Pepsi and Vita Coco have both made commitments to help support bodegas, these owners—many of whom are still feeling the impact of the pandemic—need continued financial support and management resources in order to thrive like their corporate counterparts.

For EP+Co, this campaign is more than giving back to local bodegas. It’s about recognizing how much these workers drive and sustain culture.

“I lived in New York for more than 15 years and through small everyday interactions I felt like the friendly face behind the counter started to feel like an extended part of my family,” Cornette told Adweek. “The pandemic hit bodegas hard just like everyone else. These small business owners, comprised mostly of first, second and third generation immigrant families, were facing closing down for good. The Bodega Project’s goal was to find ways to remind people to support their local bodega and raise awareness of their role in the fabric of New York City.”

As part of the campaign, you can view the spots on the agency’s dedicated site featuring the location of each bodega.