BC Dairy helps itself by helping food service

The industry association shows new pairings and occasions to reinvigorate an important line of business.

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The BC Dairy Association is aiming to increase trial and awareness of the province’s cheese products with a campaign that is just as much about kick-starting business for one of its most important customers: the region’s wineries, breweries and restaurants.

The “Perfect Pairings” campaign – created by Taxi Vancouver, with OMD handling the media buy – consists of five 30-second videos featuring cheese, wine and beer makers talking about recipes, pairing tips and ideas about how certain beers and cheeses would describe themselves if they were on a dating show. A combination of Zoom-recorded interviews and animated illusrations bring their answers to life, showing combinations and occassions some consumers may not have previously thought were intuitive.

Jennifer Woron, director of marketing at the BC Dairy Association, says the original goal of the campaign was the same in late winter and early spring of this year as it is now: to increase trial and awareness of BC cheese. What changed, however, is the demand for those products, as “a lot” of cheese in the province goes to food service businesses, which were closed for several months and even now are still operating under limited capacity.

“A majority of their market was lost as a result of COVID,” Woron says. “They needed to find new ways to increase awareness and trial of their products, outside of restaurants and food service,” she says. The association represents about 450 BC dairy farmers and producers, according to Woron.

A lot of these provincial dairy farmers and producers created online shopping platforms and had to shift their business models online, Woron says, but this was a challenge, as many of these producers are smaller businesses that weren’t accustomed to ecommerce. It also wasn’t a perfect fit for businesses that normally deal directly with restaurants and distributors.

So while part of the campaign is encouraging consumers to purchase more BC cheese during their next trip to the grocery store, it is also about helping itself by helping the food service industry, which is one of the biggest avenues for driving trial and new purchases.

“That, right now, is probably the biggest challenge, how do we help in rebuilding and facilitating the recovery of food service?,” Woron says. “When these businesses are healthy, it provides a market for our products. It’s not only the community that we live in, but those businesses are really important to the health of our communities, as well as our economy.”

”We saw an opportunity to get BC cheese in the hands of consumers who may not otherwise get to experience [it] and try it themselves and then also educate them on where they can buy it for themselves,” she adds.

The campaign videos can be found on the campaign microsite and are being supported through paid digital and social for the campaign, along with partnerships with content creators on Instagram, and at Daily Hive, Food Network and Global TV. There will also be digital billboards placed on the roads leading to camping and cottage destinations, encouraging campers and cabin visitors to check out local cheese makers and other artisans during their trip.