Loblaws appears to have found a new recipe for building its brand.
A heart-warming film about a family reunited around the recipes of a departed matriarch, and released just ahead of Thanksgiving, generated millions of impressions and boosted sales, according to Wes Brown, senior director of marketing at the grocery retailer.
“Family Recipe” brings to life the brand’s evolving positioning around inspirational food experiences using the tagline #welovefood.
“We as a business love food, and as a brand we wanted to share that love of food more openly and more expressively with our customers,” said Brown of the strategy behind the campaign.
The four-minute film begins with Matthew Rome talking about the importance of the recipes of his wife Dolores, who died in 2008. His daughter takes him to a Loblaws that has not only recreated some of the recipes but brought in the extended family to surprise him and to enjoy the meal together.
Loblaws found the Rome family by asking people through social channels to share stories about special family meals and signature dishes, said Brown. “People love talking about food and they love talking about food and their family.”
Though shorter versions of the film were cut for social sharing, the intent was always to go long form, said Brown. The kinds of memories that people associate with family and special occasions couldn’t really be told within the limitations of 30-second TV spots, he said.
After the film went up in early October, Loblaws quickly saw an outpouring of reaction from people touched by the film which led to “eureka moment,” said Brown.
“This was about the Rome family, but it is about every family that loves food as much as them and as much as we do.”
Aside from the 350,000-plus views on YouTube, Loblaw counted another million views on Facebook and upwards of 300,000 through Instagram. When all of the other interactions were added up — including lots of discussion about other families wanting to create their own recipe book like the one made for the Rome family in the film — Loblaw calculated the impression tally at around three million.
That strong response also translated into improved business during the important October holiday long weekend. “Sales around Thanksgiving were some of our strongest to date,” said Brown. With the film being the only new addition to the marketing mix this year, Loblaw concluded the film was largely responsible for those strong sales.
With the next big holiday season coming up quickly, and thrilled with the results of the Rome family film, Loblaw is working on its next iteration of the #welovefood campaign. “We are on this path now,” said Brown.
Loblaw worked with Bimm on the creative idea for the film, while Toronto-based production company/content studio Clark Stanley shot, cut and got final approval for the film in less than a week.