Great Food Marketing Campaigns

“It gives you wings”
“Where’s the beef?”
“Finger Lickin’ Good”
These few tag lines from some of the world’s most iconic food marketing campaigns need no introduction. (Red Bull’s claim slogan is far-fetched and lead to lawsuits, but it’s certainly effective.)

Marketing is not a simple matter. Sometimes, ideas you thought were great don’t pay off; but sometimes, the simplest things work out when you never expected them to be successful. Marketing is also unpredictable – in many cases, you need to start over multiple times before things are just right. While you could see this as a drawback, it makes it very rewarding when things go well.

Marketing campaigns can have an influence spanning generations. Remember the campaign, “Share A Coke”? Its massive success helps coke remain relevant to this day. Nike still uses the tagline “Just Do It”. The VP of Global Brand Marketing Davide Grasso says: ”‘Just Do It’ is still as relevant to us as a brand today as it was 23 years ago” and “it has been translated into many, many languages.” This Nike tagline has even been translated to braille (all marketing campaigns should be accessible to reach a wider audience).

Ultimately, all big brands have one thing in common – they do not follow trends, they create them. Below is a list of my favorite successful campaigns that will inspire you when creating your own.

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1. McGuigan Wines–Next Time…. Bring a McGuigan

Picking the perfect wine for any occasion is not easy. McGuigan Wines’ print ad campaign solves this problem with impeccable visuals and messaging. They play on insecurity – what will other people say about their gifts? Their ad is simple but extremely effective with very few words they make a brand identity that people will remember for a very long time. People will remember the call-to-action next time they ask the question “What should we take with us to their house?”.

Take Away? Answer the question before someone can even ask it anduse emotion without going too far, as this ad does perfectly. Print ads are still as effective as ever – experimenting with your marketing channels can help you to understand your audience so maybe next time you could test aprint-based campaign.

(Image Source: Ateriet, Pinterest)

2. Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

Where is it? Obviously in a Wendy’s Burger! Their social media strategy today is mind-blowing but back in the day, Wendy’s took the advertisingworld by storm withtheir campaign ‘Where’s the beef?’. Through this campaign, they attack their competitors by questioning the quantity of meat in their burgers compared to Wendy’s burgers.

This phrase sky-rocketed Wendy’s sales and was truly a game changer for the company. At a time whenits competitors were coming up with burgers like the “Big Mac” and “Whopper”, Wendy’s burger options were not in the limelight. To combatthe problem, they introduced this campaign which turned out to be a big win.

Take Away?Ask the hard-hitting questions – you don’t always have to play nice. Also, don’t copy your competition to play it safe. Instead, differentiate yourself. 

(Source: Zest Labs)

3. Pepsi Pairs Perfectly with Pop Stars

If anyone knows how to leverage pop stars for their advertisements, it’s Pepsi. Ray Charles, Cindy Crawford, Michel Jackson, Beyonce, Cardi B, and so many other celebrities have been a part of making Pepsi what is it today (not including Kendal Jenner’s disastrous ad back in 2017).They play on people’s vanity, making them associate drinking Pepsi with feeling like pop stars – a simple and effective technique. They continue to use this angle to stand out from their age-old competitor, Coca-Cola.

Take Away? People always want to feel better about themselves. They want to believe that a small purchase can help them stand out from the crowd. This idea makes them more enthusiastic about the prospect of buying a product. So, for your next campaign, look for ways that you can flatter your audience and appeal to their egos.

4. Subway - $5 Footlong

Subway has been changing the game since day one of its existence, with their “eat fresh” and “$5 footlong” slogans. They came into the market as an alternative to fast food for health-conscious people.

We all remember the transformational journey of Jared Fogel, a beef guy (thanks Wendy!) on the conquest of losing weight. Obviously, he overcame obesity with Subway’s healthy fast-food menu. Based on the success of Jared Fogel’s story, Subway made its place in thefast-food market as a healthy alternative and they took it to the next level with their $5 Footlongs.

Subway’s Vice President for Global Marketing, Jeff Larson, stated: “Basically, at its core, $5 footlongs are offering consumers a consistent predictable value experience”. Today, their $5 footlong sandwiches define them (even though they’re no longer on themenu). They did their job of giving Subway the identity of a cheap and healthy alternative – achoice not many fast-food restaurants provide.

Take Away? Do something different – not only with your marketing but also with your product. Why would you want to be like the competition when you can stand out and gain a competitive edge?

(Source: Stretching A Buck)

5. Domino’s Pizza - The Official Food of JOMO

There’s nothing wrong with staying at home sometimes. That’s the message that Domino’s tried to spread with their ad campaign highlighting JOMO – the joy of missing out. Instead of going to the pub every weekend, how about having some peace at home while enjoying a Domino’s pizza?

Through this ad, Domino’s positions themselves as a source of relief – relief from the fear of missing out that is so prominent in today’s society. It was a truly refreshing and creative ad campaign that went against the grain.

Take Away? Don’t be scared to be creative – experimenting with something new along with “traditional” advertising has great potential. Once in a while, test these ideas and get a feel for what your target audience likes or dislikes – you never know whether they might like something you put on the shelf because it was “too creative”.

6. HelloFresh – GET 12 FREE MEALS

HelloFresh are leveraging influencers on YouTube and other social media platforms to attract more consumers. They also offer heavy discounts like “Get 12 FREE MEALS with code 12PINTEREST” –presenting viewers with an offer they can’t refuse. Once customers get into the habit of ordering with HelloFresh, there’s no going back.

They’ve used the age-old technique of the world’s best buzzword – FREE.  Moreover, they rely on user generated content that signals authenticity and reliability. Influencers (especially small influencers) are very effective in such campaigns as they bring a kind of rawness that mainstream celebrities don’t (i.e., Jennifer Aniston can’t sell home cooked meals when we know she can afford the best chefs in the world).

Take Away?You don’t need the fanciest influencers vouching for you. Be strategic with your influencer marketing strategy and involve “normal” people in your campaigns if you want to appeal to the masses.

Apologies if your mouth is watering after that! There’s a lot to learn from these and the many other iconic food marketing campaigns out there.

Advertising food is trickybecause of the intense competition. On the other hand, everyone needs food, so your target audience is almost everyone. To make your advertising efforts successful, make sure you segment your audience properly,entertain wild ideas, do something different that has never been done before, and appeal not only to taste buds, but to emotions as well. Andmost of all, believe in your product.

May has a lot of fascinating days coming up which are dedicated to celebrating food in all its forms. National Wine Day, International Hamburger Day, and even National Biscuit Dayare all lined up this month. Take this as an opportunity to do something fun with your marketing strategy.

It’s hard to get noticed in this field (even with paid advertising) and you need to make use of various social media channels. Need help standing out? I’m here to help – book a FREE consultation with me today!

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