Aunt Jemima: Video Response Prompts TV Effort

Aunt-Jemima

Pinnacle Foods Group's Aunt Jemima set out to do a totally social/digital campaign, but it's now back on TV for the first time since 2006, thanks to unusually strong response to the first video in its new "Every Batch Made from Scratch" campaign.

Aunt Jemima launched its social and digital campaign in the first quarter, after "simplifying" the ingredients in its frozen pancakes and waffles. While the products have always been made with fresh flour, eggs, milk and other ingredients, the new recipes are also free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients.

The brand activated its social media campaign, including an Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast Facebook page and Twitter efforts, on Feb. 17. A core element is a three-part "Live from the Line" video series, created by Jun Group and directed by Kevin Arbouet, featuring real employees of Aunt Jemima's Jackson, Tenn. plant.

That approach came about because the marketing team was so impressed by the "passion and pride" the employees feel about the products, and wanted to share that with consumers, explains Brandi Unchester, senior brand manager, frozen and refrigerated breakfasts, Pinnacle Foods.

The brand drove awareness for the first video, which featured three longtime employees explaining the products' "just-like-homemade" process, by offering a free breakfast product to the first 10,000 to "like" the Facebook page, as well as through digital banner ads promoting a $1-off coupon on Aunt Jemima pancakes, waffles or French toast, according to Unchester. (There was no Facebook advertising.)

The efforts yielded an impressive 27,000-plus fans on the first day of the launch, as well as an outpouring of positive feedback, such as thanks for showing how the products are made, and for showing Americans making American products, she reports. (The "Every Batch Made from Scratch" message has been incorporated in the brand's packaging, as well as marketing.)

The outstanding response to the first video, combined with the timely, "high-quality, real ingredients" messaging focus of the second video, prompted the brand to air that second video on television, in addition to social media, Unchester says.

The TV spot began airing June 27 in key markets including Hartford, Conn.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Providence, R.I.; and Jackson, Tenn.

The TV spot will air into the fall, while the third video in the series will debut on Facebook in late summer/early fall.

The campaign also spans other initiatives, including a "Flapjack Friday" program launched in April, in which consumers who like the brand's Facebook page and submit a photo and short essay about their favorite ways to enjoy Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast get chances to win free pancakes for a year. Prizes are judged by a panel, and awarded once per month.

In early May, the brand also announced a partnership with celebrity chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. (star of Food Network's "Big Daddy's House"). The chef has developed new recipes using Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast products, which are featured on the Facebook page.

To publicize the partnership, McCargo hosted an editors' breakfast/ Twitter party in New York City, which drew more than 170 attendees and generated more than 2,000 Tweets during the event.

Overall results: Four months into the social media campaign (not counting the brand-new TV spot, obviously), Facebook fans now number 100,000. There have been more than 100,000 video views on Facebook, and more than 4.5 million total impressions, according to the brand. Average monthly active users are at 114%, versus an industry average of 65% to 85%.

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