Ontario Pork wants people to get ‘porking’

Who: Ontario Pork and Crew Marketing Partners, with Feels Like Home for production (David Hicks directing).

What: A nudge-nudge, wink-wink campaign called “There are many ways to pork.”

When & Where: It’s an entirely digital campaign, running across social (Instagram and Facebook) and as pre-roll video. It actually debuted last year, but Ontario Pork brought it back last week for a new flight that will run through Victoria Day (two new pieces of creative using the same theme will debut after that).

Why: It’s about reinforcing consumer trust in pork in the face of what Crew calls “misinformation” and “misplaced biases.” Pork is the second most consumed meat in the world behind chicken, but per capita consumption in Canada has fallen steadily in recent years, from 32.2 kilograms in 1980 to a projected 23.3 kilograms last year. The campaign is designed to inspire consumers to explore the versatility of pork through attention-getting ads.

How: The video ad relies on minor sexual innuendo to capture viewers’ attention, opening on a workplace environment and showing a woman reacting with surprise as she overhears her co-worker providing instructions to someone over the phone that involve grabbing their loin, dousing it in oil and giving it a good smack.

The payoff comes when the shifts to reveal that the woman is talking to her husband, who’s preparing a pork roast in the kitchen at home. “Yes babe, you’ve got it,” she says between smacks. “The impetus for the script was all about how when you talk about a recipe out of context, it could be taken the wrong way,” said Crew’s chief creative officer, Gerald Schoenhoff.

Instagram posts continue the theme, with images of pork products accompanied by messages like “Perhaps you’d prefer the bone-in” and “Everyone likes a good grind.”

How it came about: The “There are many ways to pork” tagline arose out of a throwaway line the agency included on a pitch deck, one of a handful of potential creative treatments it presented to Ontario Pork—ranging from tried-and-true approaches like chef endorsements, to more lifestyle-oriented advertising.

The client said they wanted creative that was edgy and breakthrough, said Schoenhoff, so they included the line in the pitch. “We actually kept it as a header on the PowerPoint deck, and the client saw it and pointed at it and laughed, and said ‘We love that. Can we do something like that?’ It wasn’t us sitting around coming up with 13-year-old boy jokes and trying to get it past the client.”

Crew tested the concept against core targets, including “the griller” and the primary shopper, and it quickly became apparent that the approach resonated. “People just loved it,” said Schoenhoff. “It just rose above everything else we put into testing. They thought it was funny. It wasn’t polarizing, or something that got people upset, so we kind of knew it was going to do okay.”

According to the agency, the campaign’s first wave garnered 8.3 million views with just a $40,000 media investment. Click-through rates were also high, with 26,000 people clicking through to a dedicated website, while traffic to the Ontario Pork recipe site was four times greater than before the campaign.

What is Crew: Headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., Crew also has offices in Kelowna and Toronto. The agency’s expertise encompasses categories like professional services, manufacturing and real estate, although it shifted almost exclusively to food and beverage advertising this year. “We just leaned into our strength,” said Schoenhoff

Chris Powell