2022 Winner

A&W Canada

Beyond Bait


BronzeLaunch Strategy

A&W is the fastest-growing burger chain in the country, now firmly established as the second player in the country, just behind McDonald's. Its enviable reputation was built not only on the naturalness of its ingredients but also on the iconic taste of its burgers.

And in 2019, to appeal to fast-food-loving customers concerned about limiting their meat consumption, A&W introduced the Beyond Meat burger. The launch was such a huge success that it inspired other chains to follow suit. So in 2021, to broaden its appeal to this audience, A&W innovated again and introduced for a limited time the Beyond Meat nuggets.

Although 50% of young consumers say they want to reduce their meat consumption for ethical, environmental or health reasons, many of them are still reluctant to try plant-based alternatives, with taste remaining one of the main barriers (for 57% of them). A barrier that is even more important in the context of fast food, where pleasure is a crucial element of the experience.

So to encourage trial and reinforce A&W's image as a chain that innovates and elevates fast food, they needed to convince Canadians that their new plant-based nuggets tasted just as good as regular ones. It's not a good substitute if it tastes like a substitute. The goal was to show that their plant-based nuggets will fool even the most convicted carnivores by having them tasted by the greatest of them all: the carnivorous plant.

The Beyond Meat nuggets campaign was launched nationally in August 2021 with, as its centrepiece, a video detonating the usual brand codes (from their usual manager in the street concept). This video featured tiny carnivorous plants that, in the form of a pseudo-experiment, were fooled by Beyond Meat nuggets samples. A way to prove that their new plant-based nuggets tasted just as good as regular ones.

This “hero piece” was accompanied by a range of tactics to pique their target’s curiosity, highlight the product, and stimulate the trial.

The deployment plan included a 15-second teaser video in pre-roll on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook inviting people to discover the complete experience with the plant. It also included an online video of the experience broadcasted in pre-roll, in VOD, and on social media. An influencer strategy included some personalities recognized for their veganism or their flexitarianism, but also some notorious meat lovers. Radio spots were designed to intercept drivers “on the fly”, and content pieces on social media included a
behind-the-scenes video of the experience. Additionally, offers and discount coupons were
printed in a promotional booklet.

The ad campaign pieces surpassed A&W's scales on most ad performance metrics, outperforming differentiation, likeability and interest metrics by double. Their market share had been declining every quarter since COVID. After this campaign, they reversed the trend. Intent to try a Beyond Meat product at A&W increased by 5% to 43% and positive opinion of these products increased by 11% (26% ? 37%). This launch was a great success since most of the purchases represented incremental sales.

Customers, therefore, added these nuggets to their meals rather than making them their main item. The average bill for Beyond Meat nuggets buyers was therefore 47% higher than the average bill.

This also drove the total average bill to a record level during the release period, exceeding the annual average by 4.4% (despite the fact that there were two stock-outs during the in-market period). Moreover, their highest same-store sales of the year were during the time this promotion was running.

Beyond Meat nuggets sales even outperformed chicken fillet sales by 27%. Some fans have even created an online petition (on change.org) to make Beyond Meat nuggets a permanent item on the A&W menu. A&W has thus consolidated its position as an innovative leader in the category, and the destination of choice for consumers looking to reduce their meat consumption without compromising on pleasure.

Chief Creative Officer: Aaron Starkman
Executive Creative Director: Nicolas Quintal
Creative Directior: Xavier Blais, Maxime Sauté
Art Director: Mathieu Lacombe, Thomas Larthe
Copywriter: Charles Côté
Strategic Planning: Pascal Routhier
Account Directior: Catherine B. Mainville
Account Manager: Gabrielle Bergeron, Victor Brunton
Production (in house): Johanne Pelland, Sarah Longpré
Production: Nova Film, Charles Gaudreau, Anna Charbonney
Direction: David Poulin
Photography Direction: François Gamache
Making of Direction: Alex Nolet
Sound: Circonflex - Pierre-Hugues Rondeau
Media: Vizeum
Client: Tom Newitt, Stephan Bisson

For submission inquiries, please contact Clare O'Brien at cobrien@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.