Cobs Bread touts the perks of being a franchisee

The bakery chain focuses on people and community to compete with improved offerings from grocery and coffee chains.

Cobs Bread is hoping its new 12-month “Start Something Good” campaign will support its expansion goals, focusing on the bakery’s franchisees and associating its brand with a sense of place and community.

Brad Bissonnette, VP of marketing and franchise recruitment at Cobs Bread, tells strategy that the message the brand is trying to get across is based on the key consumer insight that “it’s rewarding to start your own business, and we have the guidance and tools to help every step of the way.” He says a lot of franchise advertising is “mired in a sea of sameness” and is very “transactional.”

Cobs’ focus is “the human element of becoming a franchisee.” In one spot, franchise owner Raj says he “loves the Turkish bread” and in another, owner Fiona says “our employees are from the neighbourhood, our customers are from the neighbourhood.”

Bissonnette says its target audience for this campaign come from all walks of life – but is primarily focused on those that are 35 to 54 years old and career-experienced, as well as new Canadians.

Cobs’ competitive landscape is sandwiched (pardon the pun) between grocery and competing against the baked goods offering from convenience coffee brands like Tim Hortons and Starbucks. Bissonnette concedes that many grocery retailers are “really stepping up their game and providing an assortment of baked products” and that organizationally, Cobs needs to “keep elevating freshness and quality of customer service to give customers enough reason to not put that loaf in their cart at a grocery store.”

As part of its vision to become the favorite bakery of Canadians, Cobs is looking to expand its fresh bread enterprise at a rate of about 20 to 25 new bakeries per year, growing from 110 it currently has to 250 by 2022. Key focal points are the Ontario market, where locations are located primarily in the GTA, as well in Eastern Canada.

The national campaign includes search ads, digital banners, pre-roll YouTube, social and print. Agency partner Will led on concepting, with Major Tom on media, Next PR on campaign creative development and Blue Ant Plus on production.