IGA brings back home economics

Residing on TV and online, the new program is designed to help customers make the most of mealtime

IGA is bringing back one of the staples of post-secondary education, home economics, as part of a new bilingual content series starring well-known Quebec media personality Ricardo Larrivée.

The new Home Economics series will live on TV, as well as Ricardo magazine, digital and social media, and the grocery banner’s owned and operated channels (including a dedicated microsite). It is IGA’s first official partnership with Larrivée since acquiring a majority stake in his company, Ricardo Media, in August.

While it produces a brand halo effect, Home Economics was designed to be more of a content program than a marketing program, says Sobeys’ vice-president of marketing Carl Pichette. It is intended to frame the banner’s longstanding customer-facing proposition around value, while at the same time providing solutions for time-stressed (and occasionally uninspired) customers.

The goal is to provide them with information about basic food management, making up for what the company calls a “knowledge deficit” stemming from the elimination of home economics courses from post-secondary curriculum.

While the program will showcase IGA products, it is also positioning the company as being invested in helping its customers eat right, while providing tips and tricks on meal preparation, managing food waste, and preparing meals when the time and inspiration just aren’t there.

“This platform is quite interesting because we think that if we keep investing in it and staying connected with the customer, we can play a role,” says Pichette. “It’s not [about] wanting the customers to understand that we have great products, we can also be a provider of tips and advice. It’s not only to sell food, but to help customers get the best from their meals. It’s a big goal.”

Developed by IGA’s agency partner Sid Lee, the content series will blend live-action footage with the 3D animation that has become a hallmark of the company’s marketing and advertising over the past decade. In addition to Larrivée, some of the videos feature Montreal-area IGA merchant (and mother) Emily Desmarais.

Julie Desrochers, creative director with Sid Lee in Montreal, says that many of today’s young parents likely had home economics classes when they were teenagers, and it feels right to bring back those lessons when they’re in need of those skills.

While there’s a nostalgia factor at play, the program also reinforces IGA’s commitment to helping is customers eat better. “We need to set the trends, not follow them,” said Desrochers. “In 2021 you need to walk the talk. You need to prove it as marketer, and that’s what we’re doing.”

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