Maple Leaf relates to the trials of feeding kids

The company connects with parents by humorously depicting the many reasons children reject food.

Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf Foods is connecting with parents over the trials and tribulations of feeding children.

The meat company debuted an ad called “I Can’t Eat This” during the Super Bowl on Sunday, with a message it believes every parent can relate to: no matter what you feed your children, many will find a reason to refuse the food that’s in front of them.

The 30-second spot consists of real footage of children turning away food because either it’s too crunchy, or not crunchy enough, or not cut properly. But despite being picky eaters, the ad suggests, children will always eat what they love.

It’s the first time Maple Leaf has advertised during the sporting event, which D’Arcy Finley, VP of brand marketing at Maple Leaf, says is one of the biggest advertising opportunities of the year. The company saw an opportunity to leverage the game’s audience based on a recently refined TV buy aimed at targeting parents.

“The temptation parents face to give in to the kids’ preferred, but less nutritious meal, is often overwhelming,” Finley says. But with products, such as hot dogs, bacon and ham made from real, simple ingredients, parents have the “win-win” opportunity to feed their children things that they love, guilt-free, he says.

The effort follows Maple Leaf’s decision to join the “real food” movement last year. The company committed to removing all artificial preservatives, flavours, colours or sweeteners from its products, a change that impacted 120 SKUs. A major factor in that change was speaking to the concerns of parents, and while initial marketing under the new “We’re for Real” tagline focused on the change in ingredients, later ads focused on Maple Leaf’s place in “family meal occasions,” another thing that target deems important.

The new ad’s use of real footage is meant to help parents picture themselves in the same situation in a humorous light, while “seeding an important functional message that Maple Leaf products are made with only our premium meat and real, simple and natural ingredients,” according to Finley. He says the tongue-in-cheek dramatic approach to the creative “lets parents know that we understand the emotional effort that goes into feeding families.”

Aired three times on Bell channels during the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, the campaign will be in market five weeks, at which point new work will debut.