This singing cowboy urges Canadians to celebrate ‘Fry Day’ any day of the week

Who: McCain Foods Canada (McCain Fries), with Rethink for strategy and creative; UM Canada for media.

What: “Make it a Fry Day,” a campaign that reflects McCain’s new brand purpose: “Championing the Power of Together.” While not consumer facing, it will be reflected in the brand’s marketing going forward.

When & Where: The campaign launched on Monday, running across TV/online video, paid and organic social, as well as Spotify and influencer integration through TikTok.

Why: “Championing the Power of Together” stems from the idea that French fries are one of the few foods that are almost universally loved and a unifier, said Michal Embir, McCain’s director of marketing, retail. “No matter what culture you’re from, everyone agrees that fries are awesome,” he said. “If there’s any food that has a right to claim that it’s the champion of bringing people together, it’s fries.”

McCain has been quietly demonstrating the power of togetherness throughout the year, through efforts like the Valentine’s Day campaign featuring soulmates McCain Fries and Heinz Ketchup, and a recent social campaign offering the NFL’s Washington Commanders free McCain fries for life if they traded safety Bobby McCain to the Indianapolis Colts, where he could play alongside centre Wesley French and guard Will Fries.

Embir said the goal with this campaign is to move the brand’s communications into more emotional territory, conveying brand attributes such as confident, fun and down-to-earth through distinctive creative. “We wanted to do something that doesn’t look, sound like any other food brand on TV, and I think we’ve been able to achieve that,” he said.

How: “Make it a Fry Day” is a play on words intended to evoke the good feeling that accompanies the traditional end of the work week—when people feel happy and relaxed—no matter the day of the week, said Embir. “When you come to the end of the week, it’s an opportunity for people to take a breath, relax, and hang out with family and friends.”

It’s anchored by a 30-second spot that uses an ear-worm of a country song delivered by a singing cowboy to tell the story of a family whose members are having a bad day—whether it’s the daughter inadvertently “liking” one of her ex’s social posts, to the mom sitting on a piece of jam-covered toast at work, or the dad falling asleep on a stranger’s lap while riding public transit.

The spot shows the family gathered together at the dinner table, laughing at the day’s events while sharing a dinner featuring McCain Fries.

“A lot of people use music in advertising, but doing something that’s original and unique to the brand that’s also own-able is really hard to do,” said Embir. McCain tested several concepts, but the final song was just a “magnet” for consumers, said Embir. “They loved it from the minute they heard it,” he said. “They not only liked the concept, but it also helped them process the concept a little more clearly.”

And we quote: “We wanted to build something that captures the hearts and minds of consumers, in a way that lived up to our iconic brand. In the past maybe we would have been a bit more functional, but right now we really want to re-energize our equity and infuse it with a bit of emotion.” — Michal Embir, director of marketing, retail, McCain Foods Canada

Chris Powell