Sol Cuisine founder performs an ode to cauliflower

Plant-based food company Sol Cuisine is bringing new meaning to the expression cauliflower ears with an unlikely ode to the cruciferous vegetable for Valentine’s Day.

The company’s founder and CEO Dror Balshine is appearing in a new video for a song released last month entitled “Cauli (You’re My Favourite Flower).” The song features backup by the Canadian indie band Walk Off the Earth, which has made regular appearances in Canadian marketing in recent years, including ads for Lay’s, Pepsi, French’s Ketchup and Volkswagen.

The campaign is being shared on the brand/band’s social channels, with Walk Off the Earth sharing highlights from a month of plant-based eating with Sol Cuisine on Instagram Stories, and the brand running making-of content on its channels. There’s also paid media support on Facebook, Instagram and programmatic channels through Valentine’s Day.

Created by Edelman, the video features Balshine sitting at a piano, a cauliflower head in a vase occupying the spot usually reserved for a glass of wine or water, and warbling lyrics like “Ain’t no pork on my fork/ain’t no fish on my dish/just you and your cream-coloured stem” and “You could be burgers or wings/few of my favourite things/your versatile style just never ends.”

“[It was] definitely an experience that was outside of the regular day-to-day responsibilities,” said Balshine, who is actually playing the piano in the spot, and worked with a voice coach prior to the shoot at Markham, Ont.’s Flato Markham Theatre.

Cauliflower has become an on-trend vegetable in recent years, with Balshine calling it a “blank canvas” for plant-based eaters because of its versatility—which sees it used in everything from pizza crusts to tortillas. Sol Cuisine has made extensive use of the vegetable in products including its Buffalo-Style and Sweet Chili Cauliflower Wings.

Balshine has featured prominently in Sol’s consumer marketing. Last year, he appeared in the company’s first-ever brand campaign, “Mission North America,” comprised of short videos of Balshine visiting  families and introducing them to plant-based foods.

He said that his background, launching Sol Cuisine in the 1980s while personally making the switch to a plant-based diet, adds a layer of authenticity and trust with consumers. “In today’s climate, trust is one of the most important drivers to win consumers’ loyalty and gain their attention (second only to price),” he said, citing findings from the Edelman Trust Barometer showing that more than two-thirds (68%) of Canadians say trusting a brand is more important today than in the past.

“That same data showed credible voices who have a personal connection to the brand—like myself, as the founder of Sol Cuisine—are better builders of trust, compared to celebrities or influencers,” he said. “What started as my personal mission to introduce plant-based foods to more Canadians has become the mission of Sol Cuisine, and I’m in a fortunate position to have a little fun while bringing that mission to life.”

Introducing the “Mission North America” campaign last year, Sol’s chief marketing officer Ken Cross said it was an easy decision to make Balshine the face of the brand. “We have a founder and spokesperson who’s really credible, and we got consumer feedback [indicating] he was engaging and likeable, so it works hard for us on a whole bunch of fronts,” he said.

Chris Powell