CASSIES Silver: Larsen relaunches a local favourite

Atlantic Canada welcomes home a prodigal wiener.

SILVER: Off to a Good Start

Situation Analysis The Larsen Wiener had an evangelistic following in Atlantic Canada. Then, in August 2010, Maple Leaf Foods (MLF) decided to consolidate production into Ontario, which subsequently led to a change in recipe. Larsen loyalists were outraged, and sales plunged 23%. In late 2011 MLF decided to reverse the decision. However the relaunch of the Classic Taste Larsen Wiener was in the winter – the slowest season for hot dog sales – and the advertising budget was less than $500,000. Under this pressure, what could win back lost consumers?

Strategy & Insight The relaunch would rest on three factors. First, consumers felt they didn’t matter to MLF, and so that perception had to be changed. Second, distrust had to be reversed. Third, Atlantic Canadians have a great sense of humour, so MLF would defuse the situation by tickling their funny bones. These insights led to the idea of “news,” but not just any news. This news would come from a quirky source – the Wiener News Network (WNN).

Execution The WNN was produced as CNN meets This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Six videos romanced the love affair with Larsen, such as a man miraculously waking from a coma after a whiff of the Classic Taste aroma. Radio spots directed listeners to a Facebook page with funny fake news stories. Announcements came via “The Weekly Wiener,” a tongue-in-cheek FSI distributed through Saturday papers. And a top fashion designer created a perfume called “Hunger,” which had “undertones of craving, famished longing and the passionate joy of reunion.” Teaser efforts ran for three weeks with lines like “Technical difficulty is temporary. Do not adjust your wiener.” The relaunch that followed triumphantly heralded the return of the prodigal wiener.

Results The 23% decline was turned around, with dollar sales for the first six months of the launch up 11.3% – five times the 2% objective. ACNielsen said consumption was up 9%, meaning gains were from the consumer and not from shipments going into inventory. Sales picked up month-over-month, rising 6%, 12% and 49% during May, June and July, respectively. This bodes well for the long-term.

Cause & Effect The sales increases directly mirrored the timing of the campaign. Spending was under $500,000 as noted. Pricing and distribution did not change to any significant degree, and there was no unusual promotional or competitive activity.


Client: Maple Leaf Foods
SVP marketing and innovation: Andrew Pollock
VP marketing: Andrew Armstrong
Senior director, marketing: Kate Galbraith
Marketing managers, hot dogs: Stacie Misener, Lindsay Ho
Agency: Target
CD: Tom Murphy
Creative group head: Jenny Smith
AD: Dax Fullbrook
Writer: Sarah Park
Junior writers: Graham North, Alyssa Free
Video editor: Adam Stephens
Agency producer: Yvonne Flower
Group account director: Laurelyn Berry
Account manager: Natalie Fleming
Account executive: Bronwyn Cass