Goldfish imagines itself as the snack for childhood creativity

The Campbell's brand launches a new platform to have a more purposeful place in families' lives, in addition to their pantries.

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 9.26.08 AM

Campbell’s has turned its brand-building focus to Goldfish, aiming to turn the crackers into a more purposeful brand with a platform all about nurturing children’s imaginations.

“Feed Imagination” is a new platform for the cracker brand, led by a new campaign that uses big methods to bring big ideas to life. Three kids were asked to come up with a story about Goldfish, letting their imaginations run wild. Their ideas were then brought to life in different ways: one child had the pictures she drew to go with her story turned into a mural on the side of a building, while another’s story was turned into a published picture book. Another had his turned into a video game.

The campaign is also encouraging parents to enter their own child’s artwork and stories into the “#FeedImagination” contest through Instagram or the campaign website, with the opportunity to have them also brought to life through billboards or digital storybooks.

The campaign was led by Zulu Alpha Kilo in the agency’s first work with Campbell Canada since winning it earlier this year. Content was filmed by Zulubot, its content production studio. A Quebec version of the campaign was handled by The French Shop.

Paloma Bentes, marketing director at Campbell Canada, tells strategy that the new purpose-driven outlook for Goldfish stems from parental insights revealing how much importance they place in nurturing their children’s imagination, which can be achieved through the snack’s playful shapes.

“We wanted to demonstrate to parents that their child’s imagination can take them places they never thought possible,” Bentes says. “Prizes such as a large out-of-home billboard and storybooks helped achieve a creative way to really bring the winning submissions to life.”

Bentes says Goldfish are differentiated in a crowded snacking category by their unique, simple shapes, intrinsically designed for play. Combining that idea, which it knew was important to parents, with an emotionally relevant, documentary-style approach helps the platform resonate with its target of millennial parents with at least one child under 12. The brand is also looking for a more participatory idea that can keep a growing community on its social channels active and engaged.

Campbell, with a portfolio that also includes Pepperidge Farms, V8, Milano and Kettle, is one of several CPGs that have not only planned to increase its marketing spend to help build its brands, but maintained those plans through the pandemic as a response to heightened demand for its shelf stable products and core brands like Goldfish.

In its Q4 results, released last week, the company said marketing expenses in meals and beverages increased 115% year-over-year to invest “in marketing messages with new relevant ideas that would be especially appealing to younger consumers.” Marketing budget in snacks increased by 34% to increase the household penetration of its “power brands” – which include Goldfish – and retain new customers it picked up during the pandemic. Marketing investments in both segments are plans the company will continue heading into the 2021 fiscal year.

Spurred by the increased demand for snacking, the new campaign is set to continue rolling out into 2021 with additional PR elements (handled by proof) and paid media activity. Bentes says its shopper marketing team will also be bringing the new platform to life in-store with integrated retail components, handled by The Mars Agency, that will connect back to the #FeedImagination contest. Amidst the brand-building push, Bentes also says strong innovation will continue to be key to keeping the company’s snack portfolio relevant; for Goldfish, it launches several SKUs every year, promoting new flavours, formats, packaging and media partnerships, including a strong relationship with Disney.

Typically, Bentes says, Goldfish would be activating through a mix of TV, social, influencer and online video channels to support the brand during the key back-to-school season. This year, however, it is going digital-first, with short- and long-form videos being promoted through social and online video channels, as well as playable ad units that allow people to experience the stories and games from the campaign spot. Spark Foundry handled the media buy.