Cassies shine on Juniper Park
Hollie Shaw, Financial Post Published: Friday, January 29, 2010
re-printed from the "Financial Post"
January 29, 2010
Courtesy Jumiper Park
The SunChips ad campaign highlights that the snacks are made using solar energy.
Using actual sunlight to activate advertising copy that repositioned SunChips as the "the pre-eminent green snack" helped the innovative campaign from Toronto's Juniper Park take home the 2009 Cassies Grand Prix last night.
The campaign for Frito-Lay North America also received two Golds in the categories of packaged food and Canadian success outside of Canada at the Cassies, which awards prizes to advertisers whose work directly improves its clients' business performance.
The SunChips launch, intended to highlight the point that the snacks were made using solar energy, began with running national double-sided newspaper ads that read "Please hold this page up to the sun." The other side was blank.
When people held the ads up to light, the blank side filled in with text that read "This is a solar-powered ad to tell you about our solar-powered chip."
At the same time, billboards used the actual sun's movement to reveal the message, which was captured in time-lapse video and posted online. (Ed. See time-lapse video of the billboard designed by R. Bouwmeester & Associates) Magazine ads, national TV commercials and a web site rounded out the campaign, said the award-winning campaign's Cassies case study. "Just as SunChips was hitting its peak in 2007, the healthy snacking category exploded with competition from whole grain crackers, cereal bars, and even a copycat brand," the study said. "Growth began to stall."
Marketers decided to reposition the snack as healthy and friendly for the environment, an ethos that was borne out by its corporate parent.
In 2008, Frito Lay had added a 50-acre solar field to its factory in Modesto, Calif., so that SunChips could be made using solar power. The following year, SunChips pioneered the packaged food industry's first compostable packaging, and included a real compostable bag to run as an insert in People magazine. Marketers wanted to generate excitement about the company's eco-friendly manufacturing innovations, although no changes had been made to the product or its distribution.
"I'm a huge fan of Sun Chips as marketers," said Cassies judge Jon Finklestein, creative partner at ad agency Grip Ltd.
"A lot of brands out there doing cause marketing are getting the consumer to do the heavy lifting. [Frito Lay] has proven to the the consumer that they lead by example," he said, noting the packaged goods giant also retrofitted its factories in order to recycle the bulk of the water used to rinse and wash potatoes.
"It is easier for smaller companies to [take environmental initiatives], I think. But Frito Lay is a big company -- when they launched vegetable snacks, overnight they became the biggest buyers of pumpkins in the world. If they are expecting consumers to make small changes, it is nice to prove that they as a company are doing it."
The campaign was a success, despite a flat outlay for media costs of US$9-million in 2008 and US$9.5-million in 2009.
Sales for the 2008/2009 period were 17% above the 2007 baseline, and unaided brand awareness more than doubled. WalMart, the world's largest retailer, selected SunChips as one of its three coveted value-producing items.
Omnicom Group of New York opened Toronto-based Juniper Park with just six employees in 2007, largely for the Frito Lay business. The agency has done work for the Flat Earth, Lays, SunChips, Smartfood, and Miss Vickie's brands in the United States. Last October, Quaker Oats Co., another PepsiCo brand, named Juniper Park its agency of record. The agency now has more than 50 staff members and won the Virgin Mobile account in Canada last year. Its U.S. accounts include Capital One Financial Corp. and the Chicago Tribune.
In other Cassies news, Leo Burnett took home two golds for its award-accumulating James Ready Beer campaign, BBDO/ Proximity Canada won two golds for the interactive Become the Doritos Guru campaign, and Taxi Canada won a gold for best launch for Koodo Mobile.
The Cassies, presented by the industry body Institute of Communication Agencies, received a record 177 entries this year, a 34% jump over the prior year and the most entries received since the awards began in 1993 -- an indication that in a bleak economy, proving a return on marketing investment became a bigger priority ad agencies.
"Agencies and marketing-driven clients are being asked to prove their worth like never before," said Dave Leonard, chair of the 2009 Cassies and president and chief operating officer of ad agency DDB Canada.
January 29, 2010
Ralph Bouwmeester, P. Eng.
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