MorningStar Farms Grows Consumer Engagement Through Omnichannel Marketing
The food company is connecting the online and the physical worlds as part of its efforts to better our own.
Research continues to show that the impact of food choices on the planet and on people's health is growing. A 2015 report from the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, for instance, recommends a diet with more plant-based foods, claiming that it can be healthier and produce less environmental impact than diets that include more animal-based foods.
The latest MorningStar Farms marketing campaign, "Just What the World Ordered", grew out of this increasing awareness and concern around the environmental impact of producing meat. After all, MorningStar Farms has long championed a veggie-filled lifestyle and helps make it easier for people to skip meat with a variety of delicious, lower-fat sources of protein, from veggie burgers to our Chik'n Nuggets.
One of the goals of the campaign is to engage consumers across all channels—both in the digital space, as well as in person at their local grocery stores—to show them how simple it is to incorporate plant-based protein into their diets.
The program, which launched on Earth Day in April, includes digital, social, search, mobile, coupons, sampling, and experiential marketing.
In terms of in-person engagement, we're traveling across the country with our MorningStar Farms trucks and our Big Change, Little Diner to give people free samples of our MorningStar Farm products as part of our Just What the World Ordered Tour. With more than 12 planned stops (and many surprise stops incorporated along the way), we know that we'll reach our goal of increasing awareness for the benefits of plant-based protein on consumers' health and the planet.
Top Chef host and veggie-lover Padma Lakshmi kicked off the tour on April 19 in New York. At the event, Lakshmi served MorningStar Farms Spicy Indian Veggie burgers and Roasted Garlic and Quinoa burgers from our traveling food truck. She also shared her own advice for plant-based eating. Fans were thrilled to connect with a credible, authentic voice for the campaign.
The sample truck also visited grocery stores in the area that held specials on the food we were promoting with the tour; the team handed out samples to consumers outside the stores. From New York, the tour will continue throughout the summer to more than a dozen other cities in the U.S., visiting events, stores, and media hubs and delivering delicious, earth-conscious veggie foods.
We also introduced print and digital elements to coincide with the physical tour. For instance, beginning in Earth Month (April) this year, MorningStar Farms started asking consumers nationwide to take the “Veg of Allegiance”—a simple pledge to eat veggie protein instead of meat for even one meal a week—and share their pledge on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #VegAllegiance. Lakshmi has also declared her Veg of Allegiance through media interviews, social media content, and recipe creation, motivating and engaging others to follow her lead.
In addition to taking the Veg of Allegiance, consumers can follow the sampling tour online by visiting our dedicated landing page. Veggie lovers can also participate in a sweepstakes where consumers have the chance to win a hybrid car, commuter bikes, or a year's supply of MorningStar Farms food by taking the Veg of Allegiance using the hashtags #VegAllegiance plus #Sweepstakes.
Many of these social and online tactics drive consumers to MorningStar Farms' new website, where they can find resources, such as meatless recipes and facts about how eating more plant-based protein is good for us and the planet.
So far the campaign has engaged more than 245 million consumers. Although the "Just What the World Ordered" campaign was created in 2014 and is just getting started this year, it's a brand promise that will live on beyond one moment in time. The tour ends in August, but the campaign is an ongoing inspirational call-to-action that will motivate people to make a small, positive change today that—combined with the pledges of others—can have a great impact over time.
About the authors:
Todd Smith is the senior director of frozen veggie foods and has worked with Kellogg brands for the past 20 years, both in the U.S. and abroad. Todd has gained experience in sales, insights, innovation, and marketing roles, working with morning foods, snacks, and frozen products.
Kirsten Neely is the senior brand manager of frozen veggie foods, and has been in marketing at Kellogg for more than 10 years. As a vegetarian and environmentalist, she has truly loved being a part of the re-positioning and new communication work on MorningStar Farms and believes it really is "Just What the World Ordered."