Becel promotes spontaneous acts of baking during the holidays

The Upfield margarine brand shows how baking can make a house feel like a home.

Becel margarine is using the season to encourage more “spontaneous baking,” an act that it says is fundamentally about giving and can help make a house feel like a home.

The 60-second spot features the Conklin-Robinson family, who have fallen on hard times but are able to move into a new home thanks to non-profit charity Habitat for Humanity’s affordable home ownership program. In the video, Canadian Olympic medalist Tessa Virtue announces the good news to the family as they bake a gingerbread house, a spontaneous act of baking made possible by Becel. It ends with the tagline, “Bake your house a home with Becel.”

The spot is appearing online and on social throughout the holiday season, and Virtue is promoting the campaign with content on her own Instagram profile.

In addition, the brand is participating in broadcast media appearances with lifestyle experts across Canada and providing seasonal baking inspiration and recipes through placements online and in community newspapers. In store, shelf blades are promoting its partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Finally, Becel is executing an OOH program featuring a subway takeover along the Yonge-University line in Toronto.

Edelman led creative and PR with Mindshare overseeing media. Both agencies worked on the digital elements.

The campaign plays into the product strengths of the Becel brand, according to Hesham Aboul-Hassan, senior brand manager for Becel at Upfield Foods.

Upfield – which was spun off from Unilever earlier this year, following the CPG co.’s decision to sell its spreads business to private equity firm KKR in December 2017 – introduced Becel unsalted sticks earlier this year. The product provides an alternative to butter that doesn’t require softening and therefore enables families to engage in “spontaneous acts of baking” during the hectic holiday season, he says.

It’s a strategic positioning that Becel has been supporting throughout 2018, because according to company research, 77% of Canadians would bake for family and friends, but 54% of them wish it took less time.

While the brand has been leveraging influencers in a “big way” this year, says Leesa Steiner, Becel associate brand manager at Upfield, the holiday campaign marks the first time Becel has partnered with Virtue and Habitat for Humanity.

“By incorporating a charitable element with Habitat for Humanity we were able to show how baking can also be an act of giving and that baking helps to make a house feel like home,” she says. The partnership with the non-profit means Becel is “focusing less on the functional aspects and leaning more into the emotional benefits associated with baking during the holidays.”

According to Aboul-Hassan, Becel is targeting what it calls the “cheerful realist” segment, a group consisting largely of Canadian women aged 25 to 49: these women are parents who bake for pleasure and who aren’t looking to take on an ambitious challenge in the kitchen; they are mothers who want to cook with products, such as Becel, that are more environmentally friendly and heart-healthy, he says.

Last year for the holidays, Becel ran a baking campaign with lifestyle influencer Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere to promote the launch of Becel sticks. More recently, it worked with Jillian Harris on a masterbrand campaign to promote the brand’s role in plant-based eating.