Favuzzi embraces Italians’ notoriously picky food gripes

The food brand is testing an approach based in authenticity (not premiumization) in Montreal before it rolls out nationally.


Specialty food distributor Favuzzi is leaning heavily into Italian foodie culture with its latest effort, a test run in Montreal before the brand looks to expand westward.

In its two TV spots, a couple of Italian chefs are aghast when an amateur cook breaks her pasta in half before putting it in boiling water and an older couple looks on stunned as a millennial casually adds pineapple to a pizza.

Michel Favuzzi, the company’s eponymous founder and president, tells strategy that many brands claim authenticity, but as an importer of Italian products, it wanted to find the humor in Italians being notorious sticklers about “traditional” cooking methods and ingredients to build awareness and prove its Mediterranean bona fides.

favuzzi-OOHIn creative partnership with Rethink, with which the brand began its relationship last September, Favuzzi is aiming to promote its wide range of high-end artisanal products selected from the best producers in Italy. The campaign first launched in Québec and the Greater Montréal area, where there are also about 50 billboards in Montreal Metro stations, which lean into the quality ingredients in products like canned tomatoes and olive oil.

The brand is looking to foster growth on a national scale executing across TV, OLV, OOH, print and digital outdoor display, as well as at point-of-sale. According to Michel Favuzzi, it’s launching the next phase of its campaign in Calgary and Edmonton, then Vancouver and Victoria markets before coming to Ontario.

Michel Favuzzi says the campaign is not just about tomatoes and pastas, but that olive oils and vinegar represent important categories for the brand, especially with the popularity of backyard get-togethers in the summer months.

Favuzzi stresses that the brand does not see itself as a premium product, but rather, that it’s about bringing authentic Italian ingredients to market and not industrializing it. “Our idea is to be respectful of high quality products and the taste,” he says. “People who are serious about food…will be ready to pay for it because they understand.”

Favuzzi says it’s going after the “passionate gourmand,” which is not defined by income or gender, but comprises people who love to cook from scratch and are typically confident in the kitchen and searching for high quality items.

Regarding the campaign spend, Favuzzi says it’s “by far the biggest effort,” as it’s a relatively small company with approximately 30 employees. Prior to this campaign, it focused a lot on building connections via sampling. The company also publishes a PDF magazine complete with 10-15 recipes and content about Italian food and culture, as well as social media.

Lg2 handles the brand’s design and packaging, while Espace M takes care of media buys.