A&W tricks an unsuspecting carnivorous plant with its Beyond Meat Nuggets

Who: A&W, with Rethink for strategy and creative, Vizeum for media, and Nova Film for production.

What: “The Beyond Bait Experiment,” a social video stunt/ad that is part of a larger campaign announcing that the QSR has added Beyond Meat Nuggets to its menu for a limited time.

When & Where: There are a few different things going on here, including the distinctive social-led campaign for the Quebec market, and more familiar A&W creative running nationally. Meanwhile, Beyond Meat also did its own thing with a very popular (now-former) Toronto Raptor.

Why: Plant-based has exploded in the past couple of years, and A&W was one of the first to introduce Beyond Meat burgers in 2018. But according to A&W and Rethink, while most people are aware of plant-based meat alternatives, far fewer have tried them. The agency wanted to show meat lovers that the new Beyond Meat nuggets taste just like the real thing.

How: With a literal demonstration of how the Beyond Meat Nuggets are meaty enough to satisfy carnivorous plants. The video shows tiny Beyond Meat Nuggets dropped into the open jaws of a Venus flytrap (do plants have jaws?) and the plant instantly slams its jaws shut (we’re calling them jaws) to devour the plant-based food. Message delivered, although the legal mouse-type at the bottom of the screen reinforces the point: “No plants were injured in the making of this commercial. Except the nuggets.”

The French-language version includes A&W’s Francophone manager character, Alain, offering the plants some Root Beer.

Why social only? It could have run on TV, but that was not the intent, said Xavier Blais, Rethink Montreal managing partner and creative director. “The work has been designed for social. Some editing choices (thumb-stopping moments, a teaser, etc.) were made specifically to cater to social media platforms.”

Beyond “Beyond Bait”: The rest of Canada is seeing the very familiar face of A&W’s long-time manager/spokesperson Allan, in ads that follow the more traditional formula of customers trying the new menu item and being amazed by how much like meat it tastes—though Allan chose an unusual means of distributing the Beyond Meat Nuggets (see below).

“In Quebec, we’re all in on the carnivorous plant work, which is aligned with our usual playful tone and features our brand character,” said Blais. “The rest of Canada work shows our brand ambassador Allan ‘launching’ the new nuggets out of a cannon to delighted guests.”

And we quote: “We’ve made our reputation by having real people taste our new products on the street. It’s great that we found a way to reinvent that taste test dynamic in a way that’s made-to-measure for social media. A sticky idea that’s appetizing even if the nuggets are 1/100 of their actual size.” —Stéphan Bisson, Quebec marketing director at A&W

What about the ex-Raptor: Beyond Meat created its own Instagram video ad with the recently departed (to Miami) Toronto Raptors fan favourite Kyle Lowry. The joke at the heart of the video is that the relatively short Lowry can’t dunk a basketball, but loves to dunk the new Beyond Meat Nuggets now available at A&W.


David Brown