Weston Foods launches a pop-up ‘for second chances’

An activation for Dave's Killer Bread plays on the brand's origin story to support former convicts and at-risk communities.


Dave’s Killer Bread entered Canada as the bad boy of the bakery category. Now, two years after having reaching national distribution, Weston Foods is putting the bread’s reputation and origin story to the service of others through an immersive, two-week pop-up in Toronto.

On Jan. 28, Weston launched Club Fed under the tagline “Club Fed: Sandwiches for Second Chances.” The experiential pop-up for Dave’s Killer Bread offers a menu of sandwiches and sides made from the company’s organic, non-GMO, whole grain breads, and is open to customers for lunch and dinner, both dine-in and take-out, through Feb. 10. The pop-up is also partially staffed by former convicts in an effort to break the stigma they face as they attempt to re-enter society. Part of the proceeds from the pop-up will help fund skills training programs for at-risk communities to help them get their lives back on track.

Working with Mosaic on the concept and execution, Weston wanted a pop-up that could embody the brand’s belief in second chances. The Oregon-based bread company’s founder, Dave Dahl, spent 15 years in prison before finding his way into a family bakery. In that spirit, Club Fed was designed to resemble a prison (more chic than most, to be sure) and is being partially staffed by those the brand aims to help.

ClubFed-2It’s the first pop-up for the brand, and the most ambitious marketing activation that Weston Foods has ever done, says Rachel Leung, brand manager at Weston Foods.

“Ultimately, the mission of the brand is the power of second chances and how everyone is capable of greatness,” she says. The brand launched nationally in Canada with an “edgy” campaign featuring intimidating men in 2017.

Dave’s unique origin story gave Weston an opportunity to drive emotion in an often stale category. Leung says the goal, ultimately, is to build off the brand’s reputation for “rebelling against the ordinary.”

The pop-up is more than a simple dining experience (and photo opp), Leung says. Meals purchased there serve as an act of goodness, helping “break the stigma” around what it means to be reintroduced into the community post-incarceration.

Casey House has taken a similar confrontational approach to fighting stigma, in its case against people who are HIV positive. In the fall, the Toronto hospital opened a pop-up spa run by people with the disease, the second iteration of a campaign that has garnered international media attention.

Club Fed is meant to appeal to urban, affluent, health-conscious millennials – Dave’s core target demo – both for its photo-worthiness and commitment to helping others through a charitable component. As a health-conscious brand, Dave’s also naturally falls within current health and wellness trends, she says.

ClubFed-4The shop’s menu was curated by Toronto chef Marc Thuet from the TV docu-series Conviction Kitchen (in which he trained a dozen ex-cons to run a restaurant). Fifty percent of the proceeds from each sale will go towards rehabilitative and skills training programs, including Toronto-based Sketch Working Arts, an organization that engages youth experiencing poverty or homelessness through art, and Hamilton-based The Bridge, which provides services for men who have been incarcerated.

Weston worked with Mosaic on a campaign to support the pop-up. It includes a PR push with influencers and media, a launch party on Jan. 30, brand ambassadors on the street directing visitors to the pop-up, and promoted posts on social. Finally, the brand and agency worked with Bliss Media on geo-targeted ads that serve up notifications mapping pedestrians’ route to the pop-up when they’re in Toronto’s Yorkville Area.

In the U.S., Dave’s got its success from selling at farmers’ markets and through hyper-targeted sampling programs, Leung says. When developing Club Fed, Weston took inspiration from the company’s success in sampling and telling a compelling story around “second chances.”