Antics on the farm

Farmers get to goof off in a new campaign for Montreal-based Carriere Foods. The company's Arctic Gardens brand is selling 'fresh frozen' food - that is, vegetables that are frozen within two hours of harvest - by showing farmers cooking up weird ways to pass their new-found free time.

Farmers get to goof off in a new campaign for Montreal-based Carriere Foods. The company’s Arctic Gardens brand is selling ‘fresh frozen’ food – that is, vegetables that are frozen within two hours of harvest – by showing farmers cooking up weird ways to pass their new-found free time.

The goal

Carriere first hooked up with Montreal’s Diesel Marketing two years ago to introduce its new Arctic Gardens brand to Quebec consumers. That led to a TV campaign featuring a family of people dressed as rabbits enjoying Arctic Gardens vegetables. The brand is now available in the Maritimes as well as Quebec, and this September started to appear in major grocery stores in Ontario. Carierre hopes to attract high-income mothers aged 35-45, who have children at home and want to feed them healthy foods.

Carriere product manager Christian Malenfant explains that the launch campaign was about showing a way of life. ‘Our first campaign used elements of surprise and humour. This year, we wanted to produce a more focused message.’

The strategy

‘We’ve run marketing surveys in Quebec and Ontario and we found that the fact that the vegetables are picked and frozen within two hours is the key selling point,’ says Malenfant. ‘We asked Diesel marketing to produce an ad that would highlight that fact. If you freeze your vegetables in two hours, it gives a lot of free time to the farmers to do things other than taking care of vegetables.’

The execution

In mid-November, three hilarious 30-second spots went into rotation on TQS, TVA, CBC, as well as the more specialized Canal V and CityPlus in Quebec. The spots are airing on corresponding stations in the Maritimes. Spots will run until mid-December and will return from mid-January to mid-February.

‘We decided to take the road less traveled and to avoid the stereotypes of frozen food advertising, and the effect has been great,’ says Jean-François Bouchard, Diesel’s president.

Each ad starts with hokey product shots and a voice-over announcing that the vegetables are picked and frozen within two hours. Next it asks, ‘So, what are farmers doing with the rest of their time?’

‘Hay’ shows two farmers enjoying a bale-tossing competition in a field, until one of the bales accidentally wipes out a passing cyclist. ‘Seeds’ shows the same farmers engaged in a watermelon seed-spitting contest. Amazingly, the two are able to knock over tin cans atop a fence, and even put out a tractor tire. ‘Tractor’ shows the two farmers in a tug-of-war, pulling a chain between two tractors at full tilt. Unfortunately, the chain breaks, brakes fail, and one tractor, um, interrupts a serene young couple having a picnic in a nearby meadow.

The results

Results are not yet available, but the frozen food brand has been popular, and expects to earn the same following in the Maritimes as it has in Quebec. An advertising campaign is not yet planned for Ontario as distribution has just begun.