In 2021, McCormick aimed to increase Grill Mates household penetration by driving awareness and establishing Grill Mates as the most authentic grilling brand.
The need for grilling variety grew during the pandemic, with an average of one additional grilling occasion per week and 72% of grillers cooking more at home versus pre-pandemic. After missing out on almost 2 summers, there was a pent-up need to socialize through food and get back to the grill. And while Grill Mates was the #1 considered brand and owned the top category drivers, it was still perceived as “not for adventurous” grillers.
The media objective was to showcase why Grill Mates was the #1 grilling seasoning brand, with credentials of trust, quality, flavor, and inspiration. All you need for a great grilling adventure is ‘flame & flavor’.
Our integrated media strategy centered around getting our target audiences to see Grill Mates as the #1 brand for grilling flavor. We focused on flavor-led messaging that can easily enhance grilling experiences, speaking to the need for hassle free preparation, while also meeting the need of providing a flavorful meal for others. CPG clients primarily focus on broad reaching and efficient tactics, so when planning the 2021 Grill Mates campaign, we worked to find a balance between efficiency and engagement to inspire prime prospects with Grill Mates authentic grilling flavor.
We created desire by showing how Grill Mates flavor enhances the grilling experience through broad scale distribution of grilling flavor messaging to drive top of mind awareness. We leveraged passion led moments to drive inspiration and connection with Grill Mates' dry grilling flavors. And lastly, we helped spark automatic selection at shelf by providing the tools to turn selection from act to habit.
To bring this strategy to life, we partnered with several online publishers to build new and exciting engagement tactics to push consumers from Awareness to Engagement, and ultimately purchase intent. With Hearst Delish, we leveraged our first custom content partnership to create a Grillopedia, featuring recipe videos and articles to establish Grill Mates as an authentic grilling flavor and to inspire users to master the art of grilling, knowing that our audiences turn to online videos for inspiration. We also introduced Audio via Pandora, understanding through our insights work that our audiences are likely to be influenced by ads on the radio, and subsequently driving strong engagement among listeners with companion display units. In order to support the lower funnel, we added Groundtruth geo-targeting and Vistar DOOH retargeting to spark selection at shelf.
Our 2021 integrated campaign drove consistent funnel allocation YoY with a focus on Awareness & driving HH penetration. We illustrated strong upper funnel media performance, cumulated high awareness, and significant lift in favorability. Our enhanced partner list with the inclusion of Hearst & Ground Truth drove both mid and lower funnel KPIs We successfully drove a -22% CPM efficiency as a result of mid-flight optimization to Consideration tactics. Positive brand attributes were seen across the funnel: 80% Aided Awareness, 62% Brand Favorability, and 61% Purchase Intent.
Overall, the campaign achieved its goal of maintaining high-reach and efficient tactics YoY while homing in on new partners to inspire the brand’s prime prospects to master the art of grilling with Grill Mates flavor.