- Knorr, the world’s ninth-largest packaged food company, recently launched a marketing campaign that let consumers develop their own “flavor profile” online, according to Campaign. The rollout also included a video ad called “Love At First Taste” that showed what happened when couples were paired according to their preferred flavor profiles.
- The campaign gained more than one billion earned impressions globally, surpassing the goal set by parent company Unilever. It also increased brand awareness and appeal. In May 2016, “Love At First Taste” was the most watched ad on YouTube.
- “Our results allow us to conclude that content based on an enticing insight and tailored to an audience’s passion points can help brands appeal to a discerning, attention-poor younger generation,” wrote Rebecca Morgan, managing partner of strategy with ad firm MullenLowe, which created the campaign for Knorr.
In her story detailing the creation of Knorr’s marketing campaign, which ran in the U.K., Rebecca Morgan of MullenLowe noted the central challenge the company faced: It was an established brand trying to appeal to a demographic that was increasingly rejecting established brands.
A challenge, to be sure, but one that the firm and Knorr met with a combination of in-depth research and insight. In determining its strategy, the company interviewed thousands of millennial consumers in twelve countries. Their key finding: “Flavor is not just taste, it is a catalyst. Flavor transforms everyday experiences into meaningful moments; it connects people and places, it captures their memories and stores their emotions.”
Further research revealed that millennial consumers used flavor descriptors in their online dating profiles, and would often note shared tastes in food as something they were looking for in a partner. Using this information, Knorr and MullenLowe crafted an online “flavor profile” creator that helped users determine which one of 12 different flavor categories they belonged to. Then, using these profiles, they paired couples according to their flavor profiles and had them feed each other. The result: More than one billion earned impressions worth an estimated $12.5 million in media value.
Knorr’s initial challenge is one many established brands face as they try to reach millennial consumers. That the company went out and interviewed young consumers and studied the places they frequent — in this case, online dating sites — no doubt played a role in the appeal of the final campaign. As Morgan noted in the article, taste messages and “mom-made” appeal dominate meal solution companies’ advertising.
By carefully researching its core audience, Knorr was able to push its brand awareness to new heights. And while this campaign was time-consuming and expensive, it could have long term benefits for the company. Young consumers who may not have even been aware of the brand now associate it with a video that's fun, interesting and tailored for their generation's viewing habits.
It may be wise for other manufacturers to consider similar campaigns for brands that haven't taken off with their core demographic, no matter to which generation those people might belong.