Loblaw wants to cure our ‘kitchen fatigue’

Who: Loblaw Companies Limited and John Street, with Loblaw Media and Dentsu.

What: “There’s no wrong way to eat,” a new brand campaign for the company’s Market Division—including the Loblaws, Zehrs and Your Independent Grocer banners—under the “Food lovers unite” master-brand first introduced in 2019.

When & Where: The campaign launches today (March 22), timed to coincide with what Wes Brown, vice-president of brand management, retail describes as its “big moments” strategy, which prioritizes events such as Easter and the start of patio/grill season. It consists of a national 30-second TV spot, with a 60-second version appearing on YouTube and social.

Why: The campaign is a continuation of the grocer’s efforts to increase brand affinity among food lovers. “Everybody knows Loblaws, so it’s not an awareness campaign, but [about growing] consideration and conversion and appreciation of the quality food we’re offering,” said Brown.

Aside from positioning the Loblaw family of banners as a destination for food lovers, the campaign also acknowledges that consumers’ view of what constitutes “proper” food and mealtimes has changed over the past year.

The goal is to remind Canadians that the company remains supportive of however we want to eat as we’ve moved from celebrating cooking (sourdough bread, anyone?) to growing somewhat weary of the challenge of rustling up three meals a day.

“It’s a lot, even for someone who loves food,” said Brown. Loblaw wants to tell its shoppers that there is no judgement about what they eat or how they eat it—that there is no “wrong way,” at this point, said Brown. “Maybe there’s never been a wrong way, but I think what COVID’s done for everybody is give them an appreciation of what matters most. It’s not about how you plate the dish, it’s not 50 ingredients to try to bring it all together. If you buy great food and you make it with love, it’s probably going to be a great dish.”

How: Soundtracked by the Art Neville song “Cha Dooky-Doo,” the spot opens with people reaching into their fridge to pull out meal ingredients, before showing a series of true-to-life vignettes depicting how our approach to food has changed over the past year.

While the first iteration of the “Food lovers unite” campaign focused on food preferences like ketchup on steak, the new work shows how our relationship to meal-time has changed in the last year—whether it’s eating No Name peanut butter right out of the jar, smothering a wedge of lettuce with dressing and eating it over the sink, or attempting to grab a quick bite while on yet another Zoom call (and forgetting to hit the mute button). The payoff comes with the super “There’s no right way to eat”

“However you’re eating, or whatever you’re eating, it’s still all good, and we’re continuing to be your partner,” said Brown.

And we quote: “If you’ve got some fatigue in the kitchen, we’re here to cheer you on, because we get it. The situations [in the spot] were real or you could see them being real, and the food was not pretentious—not too high-end or inaccessible. No matter how you’re eating, you do you.” — Wes Brown, vice-president of brand management, retail with Loblaw

Chris Powell