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Maple Leaf plays make-believe in new Natural Selections campaign

Video ads aimed at forging an emotional connection with parents of young children

Maple Leaf Foods has launched a new TV and online campaign promoting its Natural Selections line that is intended to make a more emotional connection with customers familiar with functional benefits like its all-natural ingredients and premium quality.

Developed by Maple Leaf’s longtime agency partner John St., the new “Feed their potential” campaign is aimed at parents who make lunches or snacks for younger children. It is intended to work in tandem with work done for the Maple Leaf master brand that focuses on feeding the country.

Media planning and buying was handled in-house.

A 30-second TV spot, “Fireman,” shows a young boy helping fight a fire, while a 15-second YouTube ad running for the next six weeks shows a young girl performing surgery on a teddy bear.

The daydreaming children are gently brought back to reality by a parent bringing them a sandwich, while a voiceover states, “You’re not just feeding them. You’re feeding their potential.” Both feature the tagline “Feed their potential.”

Jerry Sen, director of master brands, digital and shopper marketing for Maple Leaf in Mississauga, said the campaign is intended to fuel growth for the premium-priced Natural Selections brand, which has been largely absent from mass-media advertising in recent years.

“It was time for us to breathe some life back into it and make that emotional connection we’re looking for,” said Sen. “Every day children are pretending and playing make-believe all across Canada; they think they’re a doctor, they think they’re a fireman. Our role is to connect with parents who see that happening every day.”

The company also plans to support the video elements with an “always-on” social campaign on Facebook, and is currently exploring a corporate social responsibility strategy that will overlap with the master brand’s sustainability storyline .

Natural Selections, which features approximately 50 SKUs including lunch boxes, bacon, wieners and sliced deli meats, is the fastest-growing brand within the Maple Leaf portfolio, accounting for about 20% of sales of Maple Leaf-branded products (Maple Leaf also owns brands including Schneiders, Swift and Shopsy’s).

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