Pizza Pops celebrates weird to reach older consumers

Who: General Mills Canada, Cossette, OPC Films (production), Jigsaw Casting, Outsider Editorial, Artjail (VFX), Apollo (audio).

What: “What a Time to Be Weird,” a new campaign that springboards off the brand’s “Weird Good” positioning.

When & Where: The digital campaign debuted late last month and runs through November. It’s anchored by a two-minute anthem spot that is complemented by a series of shorts spotlighting individual “weirdos” and their habits—including a woman who dresses up her cat and a TV enthusiast who binge-watches 1990s sitcoms.

Why: The campaign celebrates the “weird” nature of Pizza Pops: Not a pizza, but not quite a calzone either. The brand wanted to create an “emotional affinity” with would-be customers, while at the same time reaching a slightly older demographic: People who may have grown up with Pizza Pops, but are now working at their first adult job.

How: “Weirdos” might have been ostracized—or at the very least given “wedgies”—when Pizza Pops first arrived in Winnipeg 55 years ago, but this campaign points out that they are celebrated in contemporary culture.

Rather than hire actors, Cossette visited comic conventions and university campuses to find cosplay enthusiasts, competitive eaters, puppeteers, etc. to appear in the campaign. They’re not only in the ads—a hyper-kinetic celebration of everything from cosplay to K Pop to juggling and wrestling—but they also had a hand in creating the wardrobe, animation, music and art direction.

“By choosing to work with people who are truly passionate about their ‘weird’ hobbies rather than looking at influencers or using actors, we are connecting in a personal way with our fans and inviting them to celebrate with us,” says Jacob Greer, creative director at Cossette.

And we quote: “All of us are inherently weird to some degree and celebrating this and focusing on our customers’ personal expression of what that means is a great way to tell our brand story.” —Paul Cuaso, associate marketing director, General Mills.

Chris Powell