The Swedish culture tends to be aspirational for many Americans. There is a perception that they have a healthier view on work-life balance and live a more natural lifestyle. Now, creative agency StrawberryFrog is capitalizing on this interest for a new U.S. advertising strategy to promote Sweden's Wasa brand, the biggest crispbread baker in the world, selling its products in 40 different countries. And this is the agency’s first effort after it was appointed to the food account earlier this year by Barilla who owns the WASA brand.
The campaign centers around branded content, with the first installment launching August 10 and running through the fall. In-store materials and social media initiatives will support the effort.
"The backdrop of this story is Sweden," says Scott Goodson, Founder of StrawberryFrog. "The first story features Clarissa an American architect who is on a business trip to Sweden. What she experiences there changes her perspective on life and what she eats, and of course WASA Crisp Bread has a starring role."
The film incorporates Swedish humor and culture in a relatable way to American audiences. "One cultural phenomenon is that new parents in Sweden can have a whopping 12 months of parental leave when their newborn arrives. And that is the backdrop for this film featuring Clarissa, an American business woman on a work trip to Stockholm. She wants to relax after a long day of business meetings by going to a local yoga class. But she finds her class is only attended by new fathers, and to her delight a funny surprise unfolds which you have to see,” says Goodson.
The production was done in Sweden by Stockholm director Oskar Bard and his production company Hobby Films, working closely with Goodson at who wrote the film, Christine Piper, the account lead and Lucas Rodriguez, the WASA account planner.
The campaign coincides with parent company Barilla’s decision to increase its investment in the Wasa brand. In June, Barilla launched a new website for Wasa USA. “Scott Goodson and his team at StrawberryFrog have a world class reputation and we feel their work adds real drive to our marketing efforts for WASA in the United States," says Eugenio Perrier, VP Marketing for the Americas for Barilla. “With all the innovation happening in the marketing space and the excitement and opportunity, we felt a new approach was needed in our advertising."
Still, there are challenges in making Wasa appealing to U.S. consumers, most notably taking what is a flat beige crisp bread and turning it into something compelling and memorable in the face of numerous competitors.
One advantage for the campaign is good timing, say StrawberryFrog executives. It’s being launched just as NBC readies a new prime time series "Welcome to Sweden," from Amy Poehler and Greg Poehler. Sweden now is hot.