Quaker hits the rink with hockey families to win breakfast

The PepsiCo brand is using recognizable hockey parents to ride elevated interest in old-fashioned oats.

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Quaker Canada is linking up with Hockey Canada and a famous hockey mom to be a go-to for families in need of a nutritious, time-conscious breakfast.

The brand’s new “#HockeyHungry” campaign features former player and current broadcaster Cassie Campbell-Pascall and her daughter prepping an oat breakfast in the family kitchen before hitting the ice together at the local rink.

Logan Chambers, senior director of marketing for the Quaker portfolio at PepsiCo Foods, tells strategy that the Hockey Canada and Quaker Canada partnership is an effective one, as Quaker’s product line delivers warmth, nutrition and energy on cold Canadian hockey mornings. Focusing on hockey is a strategic creative choice to resonate with families, as it combines the nutrition and time demands they grapple with.

To coincide with the start of hockey season, Quaker is releasing a full campaign with a 30-second TV spot, digital ads and an in-store component with prizing. Through the Hockey Canada partnership, the campaign also includes a big influencer push with Campbell-Pascall, Bo Horvat (captain of the Vancouver Canucks and a dad), hockey skills coaches and nutritionists.

Chambers says that when lockdowns occurred, the Quaker Oats “instant” lineup declined immediately as people spent more time at home and had more time for meal prep.

But with lockdowns easing, it’s picking up again, Chambers says. “Standard oats,” how he refers to the classic “oats in a bag” product format, has meanwhile spiked in a big way, especially as people experimented with baking. That part of the business, he says, has remained elevated.

According to Chambers, Quaker Canada’s immediate competitors are big, ready-to-eat cereal brands, and it’s looking to win its share of overall breakfast occasions with families. “We don’t think about us in terms of oatmeal, but our share of total breakfast,” Chambers says.

Chambers says another change impacting the category is that traditional breakfast is blurring, with a lot of grazing and snacking occurring during the day. To ride the wave, the campaign also includes recipes at the PepsiCo Tasty Rewards microsite, part of an effort to expand usage occasions beyond one’s morning oatmeal and including snacking, meals, and desserts.

The “#HockeyHungry” campaign is an “aggressive investment,” a bit higher than what Quaker might typically do, he says, as it wants to be bold out of the gate with its Hockey Canada partnership.

StudioM led the creative, packaging design was done by Shikatani Lacroix Design, Citizen did the public relations, while OMD handled the media buy.