Goodfood’s commitment to reducing food waste is good for humans, not raccoons

Who: Goodfood, with John St. for strategy and creative; Puppet Island for mascot development; Skin and Bones for production (directed by Taso Alexander); Saints, Darling and Berkeley for post-production; PHD Canada for media.

What: “Raccumentary,” a new 30-second spot that launches “Be Good-er,” a brand platform for the meal kit company promoting its efforts to curb food waste. It features one of the biggest losers of Goodfood’s commitment: an irascible raccoon named Richard.

When & Where: The national campaign debuted during last night’s Oscars telecast on CTV, and runs across TV in English and French, supported by social and digital.

Why: Canadians waste an estimated 50 million tonnes of food every year, 60% of which could be avoided by better planning and awareness. Goodfood’s executive vice-president of marketing, Jennifer Stahlke, said that the meal kit company is on a mission to be “good-er” in everything it does.

That includes working towards 100% locally sourced ingredients, partnering with local chefs and suppliers to create a stronger connection to the food it sells, and creating perfectly portioned meals that cut down on food waste.

“We were trying to think of an interesting way to deliver that information, and literally the one creature that would be pissed-off at Goodfood for doing this would be a raccoon, because there are no more scraps for him to eat,” said John St.’s executive creative director, Jamie Marcovitch.

In a category where dinner-made-easy messaging is practically table stakes, this is a brand play designed to convey to consumers that Goodfood stands for something different, said Marcovitch.

With campaigns like last year’s Bob Ross-inspired “The Joy of Dinner,” the brand has shown a willingness to be irreverent and fun, he added, and “Raccumentary” is an example of its continued willingness to embrace that approach.

 How: The “Raccumentary” launch spot features a documentary style interview with a frustrated raccoon named Richard, as he laments the lack of food available to him because of Goodfood’s commitment to reducing food waste. “I haven’t had a decent scrap in months,” he says, blaming his hunger on the company’s perfectly portioned ingredients. “I mean, what’s a raccoon supposed to eat around here?”

“We could start with ‘Who would like this [waste reduction policy]?’, but that’s the obvious thing,” said Marcovitch of the creative approach. “Who would hate this? ‘Raccoons, that’s who would hate this.’ It just sort of sparked an a-ha moment, and then we took it the next level. The character could be mad as hell and not take it anymore, and we’re giving him the forum to be able to unload. Everything he says that’s negative, the viewer knows is positive.”

While the spot will likely play well in a raccoon-infested city like Toronto, which simultaneously celebrates and condemns the “trash pandas,” Marcovitch said that it speaks a universal truth about scavengers, “and how our eating habits fill their plates.”

About Richard: The John St. creative team worked with Puppet Island to create Richard from scratch. The goal was for a character that was memorable, but not too cutesy or “Muppet-y,” said Marcovitch. “We found a place in the middle, where there was something cute about him, but he also looks a little worse for wear,” he said. “You kind of feel that it hasn’t been the best month or so for him.”

And we quote: “The goal for Richard is that he opens people’s eyes to what’s going on with food waste. Goodfood as a brand really means what they say, but they also know there’s a lightness to it, which is why we went for a humorous approach to bring that important statistic to life.” — Jamie Marcovitch, ECD, John St.

Chris Powell