Dempster’s waves the flag as part of redesign

The baked goods maker is using refreshed packaging as an opportunity to tout its new "Made By Canada" positioning in stores.

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Dempster’s bread is hoping that emphasizing its Canuck roots will resonate with shoppers in what is often perceived as a simple grab-and-dash category.

During phase one of its masterbrand overhaul, launched a year ago, the baked goods maker kicked off its “Made By Canada” positioning during The Amazing Race Canada, touting “everyday Canadian heroes” and its new locally-made ethos. With phase two, the brand says Dempster’s fresh packaging is “catching up” to its new positioning, letting consumers know the brand is actually Canadian.

Tania Goecke is senior director of marketing at Grupo Bimbo (the Canada Bread Company makes Dempster’s products and has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo since May 2014). She says that by incorporating the maple leaf on its packaging, Dempster’s is demonstrating its long and storied history in Canada. Working with Pigeon Brands, the company removed the word “bakery” from Dempster’s logo and replaced it with “established 1890″ to reinforce that heritage. Goecke says the brand is also offering simplified recipes on the bag, and has streamlined its ingredients.

Back to school season will coincide with permanent racks, corrugates, side cars and danglers starting this fall as the new branding rolls out and will be the first time the logo design is attached to POS. It will include the tagline “Homemade. Homegrown,” tapping into the routine of making homemade sandwiches during the back-to-school period, Goecke says.

The baked goods category includes a whopping 102 SKUs, with nine subcategories, according to Thomas Pigeon, founder and CEO of Pigeon Brands. Helping to navigating the Dempster’s brand in a crowded category is “an exciting challenge,” says Pigeon, especially since baked goods are often dismissed as “grab and dash” products.

BTS2019_Dempsters_CorrugateRenderingHe notes that the brand’s packaging and branding has evolved over the years and has included various designs. It was starting to look fractionalized on shelf, he says, but the new masterbrand is a “strong visual play” that better tells the story of a “truly Canadian icon.” He believes Canadiana is part of a broader strategy for the brand, not a fly-by-night one.

That Canadian-centred brand strategy can also been seen through Dempster’s CSR initiative, “Buy a Lunch, Give a Lunch,” from August 2018. For the campaign, it donated two million slices of bread to food banks across the country (a sponsored episode of The Amazing Race Canada saw contestants fulfil food bank orders from a truck at the North York Harvest food bank in Toronto). In the release, senior marketing manager Frayan Mama said Dempster’s is “made by Canadians, for Canadians” and that Canadians value kindness and generosity.

Part of the brand pivot, Goecke says, is a product-centred focus, particularly with respect to flat breads.

In tortillas, she says, the brand was losing out to regional brands, as well as to major competitor Weston Foods. But, she adds, “tortillas are an opportunity for us, as we look to re-position the brand. We have been losing household penetration overall, and while we have seen slippage in it, it’s a growing category.”

To tap into this, the brand once again turned to reality TV and promoted its tortillas through a TV sponsorship with The Amazing Race Canada. In an episode that aired this week, there was an integrated challenge involving the unleavened flatbread and the brand’s messaging to “wrap, roll and bake” it.

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