Q&A: Del Monte Foods Bows First Master Brand Campaign Since 2012

At 132 years and counting, Del Monte Foods is looking to modernize its image with consumers of all ages, convince private label-loving millennials that it’s worth paying a bit more for its branded canned and packaged products, and drive awareness and sales for a growing number of new products.

The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based company, whose brands include  Contadina, College Inn and S&W, as well as Del Monte, has in recent times scored successes with launches of healthy, convenience-oriented products such as Del Monte Fruit Refreshers and Del Monte Fruit & Chia. In June, it added a Del Monte Fruit & Oats line.

Del Monte Foods generated $308.3 million in sales in its fiscal 2019 Q1, ended in July, accounting for 71% of sales for Singapore-based Del Monte Pacific, its owner since 2014.

Those sales represented an 8% decline from the prior-year period, in part reflecting lower volumes of private-label goods — which in turn reflects an overall strategy to de-prioritize private-label and other unprofitable businesses in favor of focusing on Del Monte’s core businesses and innovations, according to the parent company.



In fact, Del Monte's canned vegetable, canned fruit and fruit cup categories gained market share in the quarter, driven by new products, strong execution against fundamentals at retail, and “sustained marketing investment to support its brands,” Del Monte Pacific reported.

With new chief marketing officer Bibie Wu in place since March,  and new agency of record Doner LA also brought on board in the first half of the year, the team is unveiling its first big new work: Del Monte’s first new master brand campaign since 2012, when it launched “Bursting With Life." 

The new, multi-year campaign, “Growers of Good,” includes TV spots (see first one below) that will air on networks including TNT, TBS, Lifetime, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Bravo, and TLC. It also spans digital and social media platforms.

The focus is on the brand’s relationship with its farmers, the communities and people it serves, and its natural resources.

Wu led marketing for brands including Yoplait and Progresso during a decade at General Mills, and most recently served as vice president of marketing for laundry and home care and products (including Snuggle, Purex Crystals, Renuzit, Soft Scrub and Combat) at Henkel.

Marketing Daily interviewed her about the new campaign and Del Monte Foods’ marketing strategy:

MD: Why the long period between Del Monte Foods master brand campaigns?

Wu: We previously pursued individual campaigns to support each of our businesses: vegetables, which were more meal-centric, and Del Monte Fruit Cup Snacks, which were for snacking and lunches. We feel it’s time to reconnect the brands under this platform, given the product innovation we are planning, and to drive more scale and efficiency across the portfolio.

MD: How do the new campaign and its creative approach the goal of evolving Del Monte’s packaged goods’ positioning within the context of today’s consumer demand for natural, healthy foods?

Wu: This approach builds on our most recent vegetable advertising, which has been focused on the product benefit of three simple ingredients: Just green beans, water and a dash of sea salt. The new campaign brings all subcategories -- vegetable, fruit and tomato -- under the Del Monte brand together under the “Growers of Good” message. 

The new direction plants us firmly in our great farming heritage, but also moves the brand forward to connect with consumers of all ages, including millennials, about what matters most to them: families and communities.

We believe our brand can help provide delicious nutrition to today’s busy families and also connect with consumers on a personal level by telling the story of how we care for the produce, the farms, and our environment today -- and how that will benefit our world tomorrow, so we can nourish families for another 100 years. 

MD: What more can you share about the elements of the new campaign? Is Del Monte shifting its overall media mix versus recent years? 

Wu: The campaign will live across all channels. Through Amobee, our data-management provider, we are using sophisticated targeting, in-flight media optimization and sales measurement of digital campaigns. We were one of the first companies to do this work with Amobee last year. 

There will also be promotional elements such as coupons that support new item launches, a Pinterest partnership, and PR and shopper marketing, which are still in development. 

Like many companies, our marketing mix continues to evolve to include more digital and social. Our levels of investment in these areas are similar to those of other best-in-class companies. However, we’ve also been very fortunate to continue to see strong ROIs on our TV investment. 

We will continue to review and optimize the mix based on our analytics, the ideas and the best place to reach our consumer based on their media behavior.



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