2021 Winner

Unilever Canada

Hellmann's vs. Virtual Food Waste

Ogilvy Canada

BronzeEvolution Strategy: Keeping it Fresh

Millennials have become a significant opportunity for Hellmann’s. Millennials see sustainability as a core concern, but don’t make the connection between food waste and sustainability. As a result, food waste isn’t a top-of-mind issue for them, and they don’t believe they create food waste. Yet, they waste the most amount of food than any cohort.

Hellmann’s purpose is to champion real food and believes that real food is too precious to waste. To continue the fight against food waste, the challenge was to reach and engage the group that creates the most food waste – millennials. Hellmann’s had previously focused on institutional food waste, so focusing on a specific audience that wasted the most food was a significant shift in strategy and a new challenge.

The insight was that foodie culture and convenient availability of food has resulted in food being seen as disposable and valued less by millennials. Millennials are known as the foodie generation because of their obsession with food. This obsession with food has given rise to food being used as social currency – posting about the latest trendy, Instagrammable foods can bring a lot of clout. This attitude and the abundant, convenient availability of food results in food being seen as disposable and valued less. As a result, food waste becomes an issue that’s largely ignored.

The idea was for Hellmann’s to host a virtual food drive in Animal Crossing, turning virtual food waste into real meals for those in need. This idea helped spotlight personal food waste over institutional food waste. Hellmann’s evolved from focusing on institutional food waste to personal food waste (where most food waste happens) by showing how reducing personal food waste can have a broader impact on your community.

In summer 2020, isolated millennials became obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Players were deeply engaged in the game, building communities, trading items and visiting friends virtually.

Animal Crossing had a built-in food waste problem – a perfect opportunity for Hellmann’s. It seemed like the audience cared about virtual food waste more than they did about real life food waste. To highlight the virtual food waste that was occurring right in front of their eyes, the plan was to create a virtual food drive on Animal Crossing.

The agency created the first ever branded 5-star Animal Crossing Island and asked their audience to bring them their spoiled food. For every spoiled item players dropped off, Hellmann’s donated a real meal to a food bank, turning virtual food waste into real impact. Merch, signage and décor around the experience helped educate participants on food waste. Key to their success was providing a brand experience that was deeply entrenched in the game and authentic in tone and nature.

Hellmann’s was successfully able to reach and engage their millennial target audience in conversations about food waste: 66.1M total impressions, 54.8M total reach, 6.8M total engagements and an engagement rate of 46.7%. They received 5,000 direct messages requesting a tour in 5 days, with 1,100 arriving within the first 10 minutes. 15,000 people mentioned Hellmann’s account and hashtag, sharing their gameplay over the 5 days of the activation. 84% of attendees said the Hellmann’s Island experience motivated them to reduce food waste in their own homes. They surpassed their goal of 25,000 meals and donated 100,000 real meals to food banks. According to brand power scores, Hellmann’s reinforced its position as the brand that “helps to use food that otherwise would go to waste”, increasing by 7 points since 2019. The business experienced a significant impact: penetration increased 109 bps to 51.2% and underlying sales growth in 2020 was 4x that of 2019.

Agency: Ogilvy Canada, Toronto, Canada

Chief Creative Officer: Brian Murray

Copywriter: Ian Dunlop

Art Director: Philippe O’Rourke

Island Designer: Kim Sison

Designer: Clayton Whelan

Chief Strategy Officer: Tom Kenny

Senior Strategist: Tanvi Swar

Senior Partner, Group Account Director: Aviva Groll

Account Director: Beth Blatch

Account Executive: Kemal Sehoglu

Account Coordinator: Rebecca Tummers

Video Post Production: Eric Thompson

Ogilvy UK Worldwide MD: Stephane Orhan

Client: Unilever

VP Marketing: Christina Bauer-Plank

Foods Marketing Director: Gina Kiroff

Senior Brand Manager: Kristen Denega

Brand Manager: Amanda Gandolpho

Channel and Customer Brand Manager: Ben Graham

PR: Edelman

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.