This quirky campaign puts a face to canola

Who: The National Canola Marketing Program, with FleishmanHillard HighRoad for strategy, creative and media.

What: “Hello Canola,” a quirky new campaign that not only puts a name and a face to the country’s number one oilseed crop, but also a winning personality.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, built around a 30-second hero spot running across connected TV and online, supported by a series of video shorts residing primarily on Instagram. All of the creative elements drive to a dedicated website,

Why: Established about two years ago, the NCMP is a farmer-funded outreach group comprised of Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and Manitoba Canola Growers, with a mandate to promote canola within Canada, thereby supporting the country’s estimated 43,000 canola farmers.

Canola is a distinctly Canadian product (the name literally means Canadian oil), developed by researchers in the 1970s as a sustainable source of cooking oil. Today, Canada is the world’s largest producer of canola—about 60% of the world’s total—whose uses extend beyond food to include the beauty, pet food, manufacturing and biofuel industries.

NCMP’s Winnipeg-based co-lead, Jennifer Dyck, said that “Hello Canola’s” primary objective is combating consumer apathy, particularly among the campaign’s core millennial target. “We’re here to help Canadians move from apathy to like, and hopefully into that love state, where we’re as proud of canola as we are of iconic Canadian things like maple syrup and the Zamboni,” she said.

How: The campaign literally brings the crop to life as Canadian Canola, an outgoing and enthusiastic woman—Dyck described her as “buddy-like”—who relishes her global fame and enjoys informing people about her many uses. She was one of four characters tested by the NCMP in the spring, but was a “landslide” winner in focus group testing, said Dyck.

“The feedback that came in was that she was trustworthy, approachable, and looked like someone who, if you had a question or needed help, [she’d be approachable],” said Dyck. “We also got feedback that whether she was to appear in either an urban or rural setting, she wouldn’t look out of place.”

The campaign’s 30-second anchor spot, “Canadian Canola: The World Can’t Get Enough,” shows Canadian Canola walking through an airport terminal, where she’s recognized by starstruck fans who’ve seen her “work” in multiple products. “We want to make consumers feel welcome, and we don’t want anyone to feel silly for not knowing about canola,” said Dyck of the creative approach. “We’re here to encourage them to learn about the crop… so we wanted to have a character that created that atmosphere.”

The lead spot is being supported by a series of video shorts in which Canadian Canola presents Canadians with some little-known facts about the crop, such as its role in reducing greenhouse gases because it’s low-carbon, sustainable and renewable, and how it plays a vital role in the beauty industry.

And we quote: Canola is a Canadian success story…it’s here to stay, we invented it, we grow it well, it’s sought-after globally, and I really think that as Canadians, there’s room to be more proud about it.” — Jennifer Dyck, co-lead, National Canola Marketing Program

Chris Powell