How do you launch a new food product that no-one has ever tried before? One that’s competing with a well-established, dominant food category and which is almost guaranteed to attract scepticism and even resistance?
That’s the challenge faced by Australia’s Alternative Meat Co, which specialises in plant-based protein alternatives to meat, and is now looking at the NZ market.
Their products look, cook and taste the same as meat, but are 100% plant-based. So how do you communicate that message to sceptical, traditionalist Kiwis raised on a diet of meat and two veges?
In July, Auckland activation agency Magico took up that challenge on behalf of the Alternative Meat Co, and developed a multi-layer story activation strategy that encompassed disruptive story telling, event brand amplification, branded video story content and community social engagement.
Magico began with careful targeting. Which audiences and communities would be most receptive to meat-free alternatives?
A recent report by the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries, examining the reaction to a similar meat-free product in California, found that consumers of alternative meat products were most likely to be in their 30s or 40s, with access to higher disposable income, living in a large city.
Many vegans and vegetarians were not interested because they do not want meat substitutes. Primary appeals of alternative meat products, according to the MPI study, is that they’re healthier and they’re better for the environment.
And meat-free alternatives are a growing trend. In the US, plant-based meat alternatives are seeing annual growth rates of around 8%.
“The Magico campaign demonstrated consumers are hungry for more information about this important new product category.”
With those considerations in mind, Magico created:
- sampling activities in Auckland and Wellington, specifically university campuses, food markets and
- further sampling at selected supermarkets
- supporting social media promotion to encourage conversation and engagement
- Creative content reflected the brand’s personality—cute, quirky and engaging. Magico brought the brand to life, with a specially designed kitchen bike, which was accompanied by a brand actor (a man in a cow onesie).
The resulting larger-than-life theatrical experience broke through Kiwis’ usual quiet demeanour and made them feel comfortable enough to engage with the Cow mascot and the sampling team.
The results of the campaign to date have been compelling, says Magico’s Lina Montero Soto:
- Thousands of product samples were given out, across 10 different venues
- More than 6000 people engaged in discussions about the products at the venues
- Venues that matched the MPI study demographics were significantly more responsive to the activity
- An accompanying social media campaign saw more than 150,000 unique users reached
- Videos from the campaign were viewed nearly 200,000 times, with more than half of those viewers watching the videos for 30 seconds or until the end, whichever came first.
- Thousands of social media users engaged with the product posts in the course of the campaign
Lina Montero Soto said: “In social media, the creative executions that achieved the most engagement used the type of imagery that people most like to share in social media: cute and animal-related.”
Magico also captured people at the sampling venues on video whilst they were experiencing the brand, and then turned that footage into branded video story content within 48 hours. The resulting videos were immediately posted to social media channels to spread the ‘moovement’ throughout NZ.
She said the most significant observation that emerged from the campaign was that consumers really want to talk about, and learn more about, alternative meat products. “Many are still trying to wrap their heads around plant-based protein, how it’s made, where to buy it, where it exists in the supermarkets and how best to cook the products.
“Whilst the Alternative Meat Co is breaking new ground, it is part of a significant and growing trend towards meat substitutes. As the Magico campaign demonstrated, consumers are truly hungry for more information about this important new product category.”
Client: Liz O’meara, Life Health Foods
Activation Creative: Lina Montero Soto, Magico
Activation Producer: Kelsey Ryan, Magico
Social & Digital Creative: Design Distillery
Social & Digital Management: Debbie Knight, Magico
Production company: Skimming Stones
Director: Christos Montes & Magico
Editor: Kelly Hunt
We are storytellers that help brands deepen trust with their audience at events or online. www.magico.co.nz
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