KitchenAid builds its social approach

How a gingerbread recreation of Toronto landmarks fits into the brand's social media strategy.

KitchenAid has taken the holiday gingerbread house to a whole new level in the hopes it will inspire consumers who see its display in person and on social media to push their own culinary limits.

A window display in Canadian Tire’s Eaton Centre location in Toronto features numerous city landmarks and sights – like Nathan Phillips Square, a working TTC streetcar and the CN Tower (complete with a tiny Drake) – made completely out of gingerbread, displayed alongside the KitchenAid mixers and appliances that helped create them. Passersby are encouraged to share their own photos of the display through social using #gingerbreadTO.

“When people see something interesting, they scramble for the smartphones,” says Priya Trivedi, brand manager for KitchenAid small appliances and kitchenware at Whirlpool Canada. “The essence of the KitchenAid brand has always been about creating and culinary inspiration. Whether they see the display in person or on social, we’re giving people an inspiration that brings together the culinary element with our products and drives consideration.”

Zulu Alpha Kilo developed the concept and creative for the display, with Cossette Media on buying and Hill + Knowlton Strategies on PR.

KitchenAid’s parent company Whirlpool Canada selected Zulu as its new AOR in the summer. At the time the win was announced, Whirpool said it was looking to capitalize on the potential to drive deeper emotional connections with its family of brands.

“Social offers us an ideal platform to connect with the kinds of people who share the brand’s passion for culinary creativity,” Trivedi says. “Any way we can share content that inspires people and gives them an idea of what KitchenAid products are capable of is great because it’s very powerful to have these people as advocates for you who then push their own content that fits in with our existing strategy.”

Last month, KitchenAid took its annual “Cook for the Cure” charitable breast cancer campaign completely to social platforms. The campaign encouraged people to snap and share photos of breast-shaped food they’d created using #ShowUsYourFoods, which were collected on a campaign website and encouraged people to make a donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

While KitchenAid will continue to use traditional media and in-store activations, content that can have a life on social media will continue to be a priority for the brand going forward, especially when it comes to situations where it needs to be disruptive. For “Cook for the Cure,” the brand was trying to be disruptive to get people to pay attention to a good cause, while #gingerbreadTO is meant to grab people’s attention when they would otherwise be focused on holiday shopping. Even when it comes to launches, when most brands focus on why a new product is superior to what’s on the market, a robust social strategy gives KitchenAid the opportunity to drive awareness in a more targeted way.

“Whether you’re looking at major or small appliances, it is very confusing when you go in-store and see a variety of brands with seemingly similar products,” she says. “Where we’ve always differentiated is bringing the performance of the brand to life in interesting ways that inspire people to create with our products, as opposed to just listing features and benefits.”