VH finds life, unjarred

A new series of webisodes from the ConAgra Foods brand promotes VH sauces with a fictional family caught in the midst of a YouTube fame blitz.

Randy Matthews, unwittingly caught on camera by his son while being a goofy dad, becomes a YouTube star and soon has a completely new career opportunity as a VH Sauces spokesperson.

Matthews, of course, is fictional, but his role as a VH Sauces spokesperson is not – played by actor Jefferson Brown, he is the star of a new VH-created series of webisodes called Life Unjarred.

The webisodes can be found on LifeUnjarred.com, Rogersondemand.com and by Rogers digital cable subscribers on channel 100. Production on the series was handled by Toronto-based Fresh Baked Branded Entertainment, with media by Starcom, and digital and retail by Montreal- and Mississauga-based OSL.

‘We were looking for a new way to engage with the consumer,’ Tony Angelucci, senior brand manager, meal enhancers, ConAgra Foods, says. ‘The media landscape has changed with media fragmentation, and this presented a real opportunity to speak to consumers in a different way.’

‘You can put things online, but the online space is crowded; it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. So how do you make sure you’re out there and resonating with consumers? That’s what Fresh Baked specializes in,’ he says of the media strategy behind the webisodes creation and distribution deal with Rogers.

Targeting moms and women at the head of adult-only households, the webisodes follow Matthews as he experiences the highs and lows of social media stardom.

Matthews chattily takes viewers through VH-focused recipes during the webisodes, which viewers can follow up on by visiting the website and watching the instructional videos, hosted by Brown’s fictional character. Viewers can also read Randy’s blog online and learn more about VH Sauces.

The show is equally targeted at the Quebec market, where the brand has 50% market share. The fictional female head of the Matthews household, Natalie, is French Canadian, and she sometimes speaks in French to her son with subtitles. For the Quebec market, a French-language site was set up, Atouteslessauces.ca, and the videos are offered with French-language narration by Natalie as well.

The show will be promoted through an extensive PR campaign (handled by Ketchum) and through in-store marketing such as POS materials, sampling stations with video screens, distribution of the show’s trailer through Video Egg, social media via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The videos have already exceeded ConAgra’s expectations, Angelucci says. In the first day the videos went up, Sept. 13, they amassed 27,000 views across YouTube and the website and by the second day the brand had garnered 1,200 likes on the campaign Facebook page, Angelucci says.