How IGA’s home ec classes help serve a greater household need

The grocer is helping families manage money and time concerns that start in the kitchen.

IGA is taking parents back to school, offering virtual home economic classes that aim to help families address a deficit in food management.

The grocery banner’s latest campaign starts with a retro-style video of students in class cooking meatloaf and sewing. It then introduces them to their new home economics teacher, chef and media personality Ricardo Larrivée, who will be giving viewers advice on how to manage their time and money in the kitchen, with Montreal-area IGA proprietor Emily Desmarais explaining how to be mindful of what they learned while shopping in-store.

The campaign was created by Sid Lee, with Carat on media. The TV spots, digital and social ads are driving to IGA’s Home Economics classes, which will also air this fall on TV, as well as appear in Ricardo magazine and on a new IGA Home Economics microsite.

Julie Desrochers, creative director at Sid Lee, says the conceit is built around the useful knowledge these classes conveyed back in the day. And she says the agency thought it would be even more relevant today, now that the students who took home ec classes are parents themselves, and living with the daily pressure of putting food on the table.

“Bringing back this iconic class back [will] instantly connect to our clients’ memories and send a clear message of what we’re about: going back to basics and adapting to modern life,” Desrochers says, adding that IGA has been using an animated creative aesthetic for the past 11 years. “After more than 50 commercials, we benefit from almost instant brand recognition.”

While many grocers and food brands have spent the better part of the last 18 months trying to answer an increase in home cooking with recipe content and inspiration, “IGA Home Economics” is meant to serve a higher-order purpose: how to manage households, as financial uncertainty and time constraints families were already feeling pre-pandemic have only been exacerbated. And given that meals represent such a big part of both a household budget and the time they have in a day, it made it a logical place for IGA to step in.

Carl Pichette, VP of marketing at IGA, says parents are continually searching for practical meal solutions like the ones offered by Ricardo, and its consumer surveys have shown that while being budget conscious is top of mind, having a break from doing the dishes or lightening up on prep during the week is just as valuable.

By combining Ricardo’s knowledge and credibility with the helpful and practical tips offered in stores by the store owners, Pichette says it’s a winning proposition.

IGA will also gradually build on its programs to amplify the current solutions it has already been offering shoppers.

“The Home Economics theme will be found throughout the store to reinforce the various value propositions we offer,” he says. For example, IGA offers a meal planning feature on its app.

These offering are highlighted in the spot, with banners dropping from the ceiling calling out Sobeys’ Compliments private labeldelivery service IGA Online and rewards programs like Air Miles and Prix Club.  

The platform goes beyond a traditional campaign, Pichette says, and investments will be recurring throughout the year with various highlights.

IGA acquired a majority stake in Ricardo Media over the summer. While this is the first major content platform in which the grocer has integrated the Ricardo media platform, it has already revamped the look of Ricardo private label meal products.