McCormick and General Mills team up to tempt spice seekers

Frank's RedHot Pizza Pops combines two brands to test how the partnership could expand its target of young men.

General Mills Canada-Pillsbury Canada and Frank-s RedHot- Team U
For a long time Frank’s RedHot said about its product that you “put that shit on anything.” Now, you can add “in anything,” as the hot sauce brand is teaming up with a McCormick staple for Frank’s RedHot Pizza Pops, as it taps spicy eating trends among young men.

The LTO is available until next summer and unites two trusted CGP brands, matching heightened comfort and spicy food demand, says Jeevan Grewal, brand experience manager for cereal and snacks at General Mills, which owns Pizza Pops.

Pizza Pops have done special spicy editions, but never through an external partnership targeted to younger men. “This is actually a case study for us,” Grewal adds, to see whether such initiatives are viable paths for growth, especially with Frank’s resonating with a slightly older, young adult demo than Pizza Pop’s teenage boy primary audience.

“We’re always on the lookout for ways to introduce our hot sauce to new audiences,” said Trevor Squires, GM for Canada and North America food at McCormick & Company, which teased the innovation on social before the in-store launch. “Pizza Pops are a beloved go-to snack and have a baked-in fanbase that we know appreciates big and bold flavours.”

The two products make sense from a product and purpose standpoint, Grewal says.

“For a long time, our team had been admiring Frank’s RedHot advertising from afar,” Grewal says, telling strategy Pizza Pops is about “making life more epic,” and that Frank’s RedHot is about being bold, providing alignment, especially as they share a quick wit in their messaging.

Cossette is the agency for this pair up, and in terms of process, it met with McCormick and the shop came up with the whole PR and social campaign. General Mills continually works to make sure the campaign aligns with McCormick values. Both brands are also getting cheeky on social media with a tie in to Frank’s NFL association, with “expertly designed” mouth guards to prevent people from burning the roofs of their mouths (see, below).

franks-mouth-guard

Grewal tells strategy that it’s a bright orange colour is a distinct memory for a Pizza Pops pack, but for this Frank’s RedHot Pizza Pops, it strayed away from this because it’s an LTO, and moved away from the colour scheme to make it strong on shelf, actually featuring the Frank’s red colour and iconic bottle on packaging.

Shopper programs constitute a big part of what General Mills does on a lot of its core brands, but in this case, the majority of traffic is coming from “dude nag,” young men pressing their parents to pick up the product. Therefore, it’s targeting this demo primarily through social to deepen engagement out of store, though it will be prominently featured in major grocery banner flyers and other key retailers.

According to Grewal, it’s a market share leader and that the partnership formed when spicy foods were really starting to come to prominence.

“Spicy foods have been on trend for the last year and a half,” and he says another aspect that factors into this is heightened interest in nostalgia, comfort food, and snacking.

He attributes this to novelty seeking to shake up mundane everyday lockdown routines.