Clover Leaf hits the town

Tuna for 20-somethings? The brand is reaching youth with sampling outside of grocery stores.

Seafood distributor Clover Leaf is looking beyond moms and dads and trying to reach young people in urban centres with a new product it believes is right for them.

Clover Leaf’s Toppers is a new line of microwavable single-serve tuna dishes that come in four different flavours and can be enjoyed on their own or with a side like rice or pasta. A new campaign for Toppers by DS+P is centred around a sampling push in the country’s largest urban centres (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver) and features a food truck handing out samples on downtown streets, as well as inside places like office buildings, transit stations and fitness clubs.

The broader campaign features 15-second videos running in elevators in office buildings and as pre-roll, downloadable coupons and, for the first time in more than a decade, transit ads. Media was handled by GoodWood Media and Soshal Demand.

As a whole, Clover Leaf typically targets 25- to 55-year-old principle grocery buyers, but by releasing a convenient, single-serve product like Toppers, the company saw it as an opportunity to reach younger, working urbanites. Peter Clarke, director of marketing at Clover Leaf Seafoods, says this is not only why the campaign is focused on large cities, instead of a mass media buy, but why the sampling is happening outside of the grocery store and in places younger city dwellers tend to be on a daily basis.

“Canned seafood in general has high household penetration already, which is why we generally go broad,” Clarke says. “But this particular product is portable and convenient [and] that suits a younger demographic.”

Driving trial was incredibly important to the company. Clarke says there was some confusion in the marketplace about what exactly the product was, but research and consumer “shop-alongs” showed that confusion went away once they prepared and tasted it themselves.

“There’s also nothing really like this product in the category, which is already really crowded when you look at the shelf in the store,” Clarke says. “But we saw that tasting really is believing, so we have to be driving that in places we know this audience is going to be.”