Ben’s Original rebrand launches in Canada

Mars distances the brand from its previous imagery with CSR efforts to help BIPOC complete culinary studies.
Mars Food Canada-BEN-S ORIGINAL- Products Now Widely Available A

Mars Food Canada is touting the arrival of its rebranded Ben’s Original rice line with its first ads in Canada and a project to help would-be chefs finish their education.

A rebrand for what was previously known as Uncle Ben’s was announced in Sept. 2020 in response to criticisms of racial stereotyping. Gone is the image of the fictional Black farmer that once graced every package, but the recognizable orange packaging and navy blue font remains.

The rebrand is backed in Canada with a CSR push, including what the company is calling the “Seat at the Table Fund,” a scholarship program which will be rolled out nationally in 2022.

That program has Mars Food Canada partnering with four of Canada’s top culinary programs – at Vancouver Community College in B.C., Institut de tourisme et d’hotellerie du Quebec, and Humber and Centennial colleges in Ontario – to provide $200,000 of funding over two years to help BIPOC students complete their studies.

The scholarship program is the first step from the brand to realize its new purpose, “to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.”

“We knew when we pledged to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand that it meant more than simply changing our name,” said Eric Huston, marketing director for Mars Food Canada, in a release. “Enhancing equity and inclusion means committing to actions that help deliver true equity to underserved communities across Canada.”

In addition to that initiative, the brand has donated more than $250,000 worth of food, including the first pallet of Ben’s Original to be produced in Canada, to Caledon Community Services in Bolton, Ont.

To tout the brand’s arrival on retail shelves in Canada, Mars Food Canada is localizing its global campaign that launched this summer and builds on its status as a longtime pantry staple for many families by showcasing a wide array of groups gathering for meals that include Ben’s Original jasmine rice.

The groups depicted are diverse – including a Black nuclear family, a multi-generational Pakistani family, a family that uses sign language, a single-parent family, a group of roommates and a pair of friends – and so are the ways they make use of the brand’s rice to execute their own unique recipes.

The campaign was developed with agency The&Partnership and is running on TV, digital, social and on-demand.