Thanks to Emmy winner Annie Murphy, there’s a lot of ham in HelloFresh’s marketing menu

Fresh off her Primetime Emmy winning performance in Schitt’s Creek, Canadian actress Annie Murphy is now giving a Daytime Emmy-calibre performance in Hungry Hearts, the ongoing content series for meal kit company HelloFresh.

Murphy is a scenery-chewing delight in the episodic series developed by Taxi, which dropped its third episode on YouTube this week. She’s all histrionics and exaggerated gestures, careening wildly between vulnerability and elation, shock and fear.

Launched pre-pandemic, Hungry Hearts leans so hard into classic soap opera tropes it’s in danger of toppling over. The first three episodes alone have featured a husband who’s back from the “dead,” the obligatory evil twin sister (she wears all black and an eyepatch) and more wide-eyed reaction shots than an episode of America’s Got Talent.

Combine Murphy’s performance with some deft in-episode commentary on HelloFresh competitors like delivery (“the options are overwhelming, and then when you do decide it shows up cold and mushy,” says Murphy) and frozen food (“it simply won’t do—we need something balanced and nutritious”), and beauty shots of HelloFresh menu items like sage and brown butter pork chops, you’ve got the ingredients for a successful marketing campaign.

HelloFresh’s original creative brief called for a cooking show using an influencer, but the Taxi creative team wanted to find a new way of bringing the idea to life. “The meal-kit landscape is oversaturated with forgettable cooking videos. So we challenged ourselves to do something different. Something that would stand out and be sought out,” said Taxi’s co-chief creative officer Alexis Bronstorph.

The first two episodes of Hungry Hearts, neither shorter than two-and-a-half minutes, have garnered nearly 2.9 million combined views on YouTube.

Not everybody can have a Hungry Hearts, of course, but kudos to HelloFresh for leaning into a bold idea and for having the foresight to enlist an ascendent star capable of bringing widespread attention and consumer interest. It’s a real guiding light for the benefits of trying something out of the box.

Chris Powell