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PC says there’s ‘Nothing to Fear’ from its Plant-Based line

New campaign uses horror tropes to address Canadians’ misgivings over a vegetarian/vegan diet

President’s Choice is putting its first major marketing push behind its Plant-Based line of products, with a new campaign that demonstrates why Canadians shouldn’t be afraid of trying its Chickenless Breaded Strips or cheesecake-style dessert.

While the Loblaw Companies Limited brand has previously highlighted the Plant-Based products in its broader marketing initiatives—most notably the Insider’s Report—this is the first standalone campaign for the product line, which debuted in May.

“For us it’s about meeting customer needs when they’re most looking for plant-based options,” says Kevin Andrews, director of marketing, control brands, for Loblaw, about the campaign timing.

“We’ve seen the growth in consumer demand for plant-based options, and we felt this was the perfect time to really showcase the various solutions we have and introduce plant-based options for Canadians’ diets.”

According to an August study by Insights West, more than one-quarter (27%) of Canadians indicated they are likely to try a vegetarian diet, with 11% saying they would be willing to go further and pursue a vegan diet. Those numbers rise to 38% and 17% respectively among Canadians 18 to 34.

The “Nothing to Fear” campaign launched during last week’s Golden Globes telecast and highlights two products: Chickenless Breaded Strips, and Original Cheesecake-Style Dessert. The former, featured in the campaign’s anchor spot, was selected on the basis of its “wide mass appeal,” says Andrews. “We know that Canadians are always looking for convenient ways to get dinner on the table, and the Chickenless breaded strips are the perfect way to do that.”

Future marketing around the Plant-Based line is expected to focus on seasonal products, with Andrews identifying the Undeniable Burger as one of the products that will receive additional promotion once summer barbecue season draws near.

The campaign by Toronto agency john st. underlines one of Canadians’ key reasons for avoiding plant-based products: a fear of how they will taste or how easy they are to prepare. “We looked at the research and understood that there’s definitely an appetite to try these products, but there’s some apprehension around them,” says Andrews.

“One of the great things about the PC brand is that when we bring these products to market there’s a sense of trust that we’ve done the work to make they meet the quality standards that they expect.”

The main TV spot uses an array of horror tropes—sinister music, quick-cuts and light and shade—to tell the story of three generations of men gathered together in a cabin, where the grandfather is informed that the only food available for the duration of their visit is the Chickenless Breaded Strips. The spot ends with the older man indicating that he likes the product.

The 15-second ad for the Original Cheesecake-Style Dessert focuses on a young girl’s birthday party, with the youngster originally expressing her dismay that her mother purchased plant-based cake, only to discover that she likes it.

The Plant-Based line is currently comprised of 20 SKUs available across all Loblaw banners.

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