Page 1

snapshot

BRAND POSITIONING

Images courtesy of Oscar Mayer.

Ill.-based Kraft Foods Group Inc., recently decided to leverage bacon’s rockstar status in an attempt to boost sales for its turkey bacon. In early 2013, Oscar Mayer was losing market share in the turkey bacon category to competitors such as Jennie O and Butterball, so the brand needed to better position itself to compete, says Tom Bick, senior director of integrated marketing and advertising at Oscar Mayer. “We saw that consumers will willingly trade up from pork bacon to turkey bacon, but in their minds, since they’re buying turkey bacon, they should buy it from the turkey guys. We wanted to flip the equation: Why wouldn’t you buy turkey bacon from the bacon experts?” Oscar Mayer also needed to find a way to stand out amidst all of the bacon-laden messaging, Bick says. “In the digital space, anything to do with bacon is being talked about a lot. We wanted to draft off of that fervor for bacon, but in order to do that, the ideas have to be so sharp and so much better than what users are generating on their own.”

The Other Bacon Oscar Mayer taps a lesser-known celebrity spokesman to help promote its lesser-known bacon brand BY CHRISTINE BIRKNER | SENIOR STAFF WRITER

 cbirkner@ama.org Goal Bacon is everywhere these days. It’s having a pop-culture moment, having made its way into scores of products,

14

from cupcakes and vodka to air fresheners and lip balm. It’s praised online and on millennials’ T-shirts. Oscar Mayer, owned by Northfield,

Action Oscar Mayer turned to its advertising agency, Chicago-based 360i, for help. “We told the agency that we wanted people to realize that our turkey bacon comes from the same process as our pork bacon, and they came back and said: ‘There are other situations like this. There are Bacons, literally, who are less famous than their more famous siblings. They come from an equally great family, and they’re equally accomplished, just in different ways,’ ” Bick says. “It was a perfect analogy to what we were trying to do.” The Bacons to which the 360i team were referring were actor Kevin Bacon and his brother and bandmate, Michael—a Bacon who’s talented and accomplished but knows a thing or two about being overshadowed. Michael Bacon is a music composer for TV and film, and performs with Kevin in The Bacon Brothers band.

MARKETING NEWS | JANUARY 2015

MN Jan 2015 1-65-edit-12-18-14.indd 14

12/19/14 10:49 AM


BRAND POSITIONING

On May 12, 2014, Oscar Mayer launched a website and a YouTube video called “Unsung Bacon,” which highlights the positive attributes of both turkey bacon and Michael Bacon in comparison to their more famous “siblings.” For instance, the video notes that Oscar Mayer turkey bacon has 50% less fat than the brand’s pork bacon, and Michael is the only Bacon to win an Emmy award. A voiceover says, “When you’re born into a great bacon family, bacon greatness is born into you.” “We took the approach of creating the ‘unsung hero’ parallel to emphasize that Oscar Mayer’s bacon, whether it be traditional or turkey, is better than its competitors because [of its] pedigree,” says Meredith Smyth, account director for Oscar Mayer at 360i, who helped develop the campaign. Adds Bick: “Any of us who come from families where you have siblings, there’s sibling rivalry. Playing off of that was a fun way that most consumers understand. [Michael Bacon] loved it right off the bat. He thought it was such a fun idea. He wrote music for it. He was all in.”

COMPANY

Oscar Mayer, Kraft Foods Group Inc. HEADQUARTERS

Northfield, Ill. CAMPAIGN TIMELINE

May 12-July 12, 2014 RESULTS

The campaign garnered 7,929 new Twitter followers for Michael Bacon, and mentions in USA Today, Salon, Ad Age and Yahoo.

snapshot

Oscar Mayer launched a website and a YouTube video called “Unsung Bacon,” which highlights the positive attributes of both turkey bacon and Michael Bacon in comparison to their more famous “siblings.” A voiceover says, “When you’re born into a great bacon family, bacon greatness is born into you.”

The video and website encourage people to “stand up for unsung bacon everywhere” by following Michael Bacon on Twitter to help make him “the most followed Bacon in his family.” The goal was to make Michael’s Twitter fan base larger than Kevin’s, growing it from 1,000 followers to 486,000 by July 12. The campaign video was promoted on Oscar Mayer’s social media channels with the hashtag #UnsungBacon. Oscar Mayer decided to promote the campaign only through digital channels and social media, rather than buying TV or print ads, because it allowed consumers to share the content more easily, and because it was more costeffective than traditional advertising, Bick says. “We can have a story play out over two months, do it in a way that we can get earned [media] and also highly target [our consumers]. It makes sense for us, on things that have smaller budgets, to really exploit the space as best as possible. This idea, in particular, used Twitter to its fullest extent.” Results From May 12 to July 12, 2014, the campaign garnered 7,929 new Twitter followers for Michael Bacon, according

to Oscar Mayer. While that total fell far short of the campaign’s lofty social media goal, the brand reaped other successes in the form of favorable earned media in USA Today, Salon, Ad Age and Yahoo. Oscar Mayer declined to reveal the campaign budget or sales results. “From a brand equity standpoint, it was definitely a win,” Bick says. “We stemmed the [sales] decline we were seeing to our competitors in the market. It was highly successful for us, and we learned a lot from it.” The campaign also helped Oscar Mayer break through the cluttered bacon category, he adds. “It helped us brand the [bacon] conversation to Oscar Mayer, so we can have a significant shift to our total bacon business. And it raised the status of turkey bacon and made people feel like it’s bacon first, rather than something that might be a substitute for bacon.” Anita Nelson, president of IN Food Marketing & Design, a Minneapolisbased food marketing agency, agrees. “For a category that’s fairly mature, like bacon, it’s challenging to stand out. The video did a great job of personifying the benefits of turkey bacon in a really fun and unique way that’s shareable, rather than just focusing on the product benefits in ways that have been heard many times before.” m

JANUARY 2015 | MARKETING NEWS

MN Jan 2015 1-65-edit-12-18-14.indd 15

15

12/19/14 10:49 AM

The Other Bacon  

Oscar Mayer taps a lesser-known celebrity spokesman to promote its lesser-known bacon brand.