IGA brings back home economics classes

Who: IGA and Sid Lee, with SHED for production, BLVD and Boogie Musique for music and sound, M&H for print production, Qolab for content production, and Clark for influencer relations. Media by Carat.

What: A new content series consisting of “Home Economics” lessons featuring well-known Quebec media personality Ricardo Larrivée. It’s the first collaboration between the two parties since IGA, Sobeys’ Quebec grocery banner, acquired a majority interest in Larrivée’s Ricardo Media in August.

When & Where: The English and French “lessons” will appear across TV, as well as in Ricardo magazine, on digital and social media, and the grocery brand’s owned and operated channels—including a dedicated hub at IGA.net/HomeEconomics.

Why: Carl Pichette, vice-president of marketing for Sobeys, said the program is intended to be a long-standing communications platform demonstrating how IGA can support families in their pursuit of value. The content is designed around three key pillars: Helping consumers reduce the constant demands of family dinner, while saving them time and saving money.

“Mid and long-term success will be if we increase our value perception. It’s not a question of a pricing offensive,” said Pichette. “It’s up to us to create great quality content that engages our customer, because we’re fighting against a lot of content.”

Why home economics? Once one of the staples of secondary school education, home economics has all but disappeared from the curriculum over the past two decades. According to IGA, that has led to a “knowledge deficit” among young adults when it comes to basic food management. IGA is trying to address that with practical advice around mealtime focused not just on food preparation, but also on planning and stretching the food budget.

While the program is designed to help IGA achieve its business objectives, the strategy is to offer people guidance and support rather than simply entertain them, said Sid Lee creative director Julie Desrochers. The goal is to create “value and have a lasting impact” through genuinely useful campaigns, she said.

“A lot of today’s parents had home economics courses when they were teens. It seemed like a good idea to bring them back now, when they really need those skills,” said Desrochers. “It’s a chance to get a bit nostalgic, but also to switch gears and go from selling to helping, by dedicating our media space to educational content.”

How: A 30-second launch ad for the program uses 3D animation (a tactic IGA has used to great effect) to present the home economics concept to viewers. The ad opens on pre-internet era home economics classes, with the voiceover saying that making meatloaf and sewing boxer shorts “set the stage for the perfect family life.” The spot then adopts a more modern look, introducing a 3D animation of Larrivée and IGA merchant Emily Desmarais announcing the course plan of saving time, money and energy.

A 40-second animated “Crash Course” video informs people how to create weekday dinner for various scenarios (“rushed,” “really rushed” and “ultra rushed”), while another video showcases the banner’s prepared foods selection as the solution for those nights when people don’t have the time, energy or interest to prepare a home-cooked meal.

Subsequent videos nod to social media’s popular “Throwback Thursday” feature, relying on old library clips of Larrivée created during a more than 10-year partnership between the two parties. Future work for the platform will mix in live-action with the animation, said Pichette, particularly in scenarios where speed-to-market is paramount.

On IGA’s continued use of animation: Sid Lee and IGA have launched more than 50 spots using 3D animation over the past decade, said Desrochers. “It was kind of a revolution when IGA started to speak with this kind of esthetic in 2010, and we’ve been piggybacking on this equity since then.”

“Every time we have a mass campaign, 99% of the time we’re using 3D animation,” said Pichette. “It’s part of our tone and manner, and it helps with brand linkage and breaking through. I would say we own that territory, certainly among grocers. With the way it’s done, people notice that it’s IGA from the get-go.”

And we quote: “With lunches, snacks, after-school activities, food sensitivities, picky eaters, food waste, family budgets and a lack of time and inspiration, we know how eager families are to find value-added solutions. We want to offer them a platform with all our best advice that also explains how IGA’s tools and programs can help.”— Carl Pichette, vice-president of marketing, Sobeys

Chris Powell