McCain Roaster Qrriffic contest

Sometimes simple is better. That's what McCain Foods learned when it promoted the summer re-launch of Roasters, its line of products for the barbecue. A wacky spokesperson, a 'hot' contest and an uncomplicated Web site: That's all it took to generate about 49,000 contest entries over three months (which more than tickled the folks at McCain's New Brunswick HQ) for a grand prize of a trip to the Dominican Republic and a visit to the taping of The King of the Q.

Sometimes simple is better. That’s what McCain Foods learned when it promoted the summer re-launch of Roasters, its line of products for the barbecue. A wacky spokesperson, a ‘hot’ contest and an uncomplicated Web site: That’s all it took to generate about 49,000 contest entries over three months (which more than tickled the folks at McCain’s New Brunswick HQ) for a grand prize of a trip to the Dominican Republic and a visit to the taping of The King of the Q.

Ah the King. Thanks to the off-beat appeal of chef and TV personality Ted Reader, host of The King of the Q who made appearances at events and did in-store demos, Moncton-based Razor Communications and C2 Communications managed – without any mass media support – to reach their coveted female 35-50 target. Here, Stefany Pierce,

director of production management at Toronto’s Holmes and Lee, and Kate Stewart, director of e-strategy at Toronto-based Devlin E-Business Architects, weigh in on what worked and what wobbled.

Concept

SP: It seems like it was pretty effective. Those are really good numbers for a three-month-long online contest.

Their whole purpose wasn’t to data-mine; they were just looking for awareness.

KS: Overall, I thought [the concept] was a subtle driver to the campaign. They didn’t have any offline mass media support. Most of their audience was coming from the King of the Q Web site. That’s a nice subtle way of getting a highly targeted audience. You don’t spend millions on a TV campaign and you’re getting right to your core audience. And for the launch of a product you want to start with your immediate devotees.

Spokesperson

SP: I thought Ted Reader was a little scary looking.

But I don’t think it was a bad idea [to use him], he obviously drove a lot of people to the site. [His in-store events] are as good as having a commercial. So even though they didn’t do a mass media buy, they were getting mass media exposure. This guy’s on TV all the time. I think they made a good choice. He’s got an unpretentious quality that goes well with the product.

KS: I’d never seen the show before, so my first impression was, ‘Aww, who’s that guy?!’ But if most people are familiar with him, then it makes a lot of sense.

Interactive

SP: It should be easy. You want to reach [women] and not tie them down or irritate them. They didn’t indulge in excessive questioning. One thing they could have improved from the interactive perspective was the refer-a-friend functionality. They asked the user to forward an e-mail to friends from his/her own e-mail account; it’s pretty simple to code that into the back end. But apart from that it’s good.

KS: I thought they did a good job of keeping it simple. You get straight into the contest entry form, but I thought there could be a bit more about the product. The goal of the campaign is not just to have people enter the contest, it’s to sell the product and get them to understand it better.

The BBQ [icon] that you [mouse] over and get suggestions for which of the Roasters products to serve is a cool concept. I would have liked to see more of that – maybe recipes to draw people in. The viral call to action was pretty good. It was well placed in the campaign.

Creative:

SP: I wasn’t crazy about the creative. I think they dealt with the brand as well as they could. People use online references constantly for recipes.

It’s sort of a natural decision. I would have made more of an effort with the food photography.

KS: I think the creative fits well with the rest of the stuff that McCain does.

The creds:

Agencies: C2 Communications & Razor Communications

Copywriter: Stephen Brander, Razor

Art director and interactive creative: Rich Gould, Razor

Account director: Carol Chapman, C2

Interactive/Web development: IC Group

Photography: Brian MacDonald