Why PC shifted its ‘Eat Together’ conversation

The CPG brand saw an opportunity to leverage its brand equity and trust to encourage people to eat together at work.
Eat Together

After launching the “Eat Together” platform last year, encouraging Canadians to sit down and share a meal more often, President’s Choice turned its focus to the workplace, says Uwe Stueckmann, SVP of marketing at Loblaw Companies.

The “Eat Together” platform launched in 2017 on the basis that only 38% of Canadians eat dinner together between four and six times a week, while many others watch TV (45%), listen to the radio (15%) or surf the internet (14%) while doing so.

Over the last year, Stueckmann says additional research has supported the platform’s original insight that eating in solitude leads to unhappiness. A recent study by OxFord Economics and cited by PC showed, for instance, that eating alone is “more strongly associated with unhappiness than any single factor other than having a mental illness.”

While that core insight remains true today, Stueckmann says PC has evolved the focus with a new spot for 2018 after noticing that eating alone becomes more prevalent as people start their careers and enter the workforce.

According to a PC survey of 1,594 Canadians in May 2018, two-thirds of people often eat lunch alone and nearly half do so every day. That survey also showed that 59% of consumers agree that eating alone in the workplace has become the norm. Twenty-five percent said they took that time to catch up on personal business, while 23% they felt too busy to stop working and 12% said they preferred spending that time on social media without interruption.

Accordingly, the campaign spot that launched in January took direct aim at people’s habits of eating alone in the workplace, continuing PC’s shift away from product-focused advertising towards a story with more emotional pull. With the “Eat Together” platform now in its second year, Stueckmann says PC will use its equity and trust with consumers to “lead the charge in the workplace.”

Beyond that, Stueckmann says its annual Eat Together Day has also been particularly effective at giving life to the movement.

The event, held on June 22 this year, saw Canadians invited to attend barbecues at more than 750 stores. According to a campaign website, more than 13,600 people were in attendance, in addition to roughly 150,000 Loblaw employees. Participants could either host their own Eat Together Day, or join one of the local events. And PC used the opportunity to share recipes and videos about connecting over food (created by Canadian filmmakers) on its site.

Over the past year, the brand’s “Eat Together” videos have been widely shared online – last year’s hero spot garnered some 11 million views (including seven million across digital and social channels), as well as a pair of Marketing Awards.