Foodland talks AAA beef in new content series

Who: Foodland (and Sobey’s other community banners, including Co-Op in Eastern Canada, and IGA in the West), along with Blue Ant Plus for strategy, creative and production, and UM for media.

What: A video content series with Foodland meat experts answering common customer questions about buying and preparing AAA beef.

When & Where: The campaign is live now on the Foodland, IGA and Co-Op sites, on social, as well as on connected TV.

Why: Foodland stores are mostly in small towns, and are often the only grocery option for those markets, meaning their staff get to know many of their customers. “Our tagline is ‘Fresh food. Friendly neighbours,'” said Jason Butchko, brand manager for community banners at Sobeys Inc.

While Foodland has often carried AAA beef, it wasn’t always available. However, Foodland recently introduced a new program to change that. “This program provided an opportunity for us to consistently offer Canadian triple A cuts of beef to all of our customers throughout the year,” he said.

Foodland wanted to help its customers get more familiar with the AAA offering, especially at a time when food prices are top-of-mind for many consumers. “People’s perception of our meat offerings are quite high, so we didn’t want to tamper with that,” he said.

“The insight was that the average consumer can be intimidated by shopping for and cooking beef products, especially if it’s outside of their cooking comfort zone,” said Toni Rufo, head of client services for Blue Ant Plus.

How: Blue Ant Plus produced nine different videos (produced in-store, in one overnight shoot) with three actual Foodland meat experts answering common questions about cooking with AAA beef. Each video opens with the question in voiceover—like “what’s marbling?” and “what’s the best way to marinade?”—before the expert delivers the answer to camera, closing with the line: “Custom cuts, cut in store.”

“We wanted to reduce the average customer’s intimidation around shopping for beef by replicating the in-store experience of approaching the meat counter and being met with friendly, approachable experts who will help guide the customer to the right product,” said Rufo.

While helping to explain the benefits and possibilities of AAA beef, the approach also reinforces Foodland’s connections to the people in the markets it serves.

“It’s really important for us from a community perspective to show the people behind the products,” said Butchko. “You probably know that person, because he lives down the street from you.” (While the series was shot with Foodland employees, the content is repackaged for IGA and Co-op ,which share similar visual branding.)

It also aligns with the “Local Legends” campaign by BBDO, an “upper funnel, brand awareness” campaign that similarly emphasizes the community aspect of the stores.

Each of the videos can be cut down in different ways for social and digital ad buys, and the entire content series is also being supported with a connected TV buy (through Blue Ant’s Media Pulse CTV marketplace), where the viewer can choose which video to watch based on the questions and headlines.

Butchko said they’ll be adding additional in-store components to continue educating customers about the AAA option, and will support the video series through the summer, at which point they’ll switch from the summer grilling theme to more popular options for fall and winter, such as roasts.

David Brown