French's is the market leader in Yellow Mustard, and keeping the brand culturally relevant is key to maintaining that position. For four years, French's has built ownership of Mustard Day (the first Sunday in August) to garner earned media attention and showcase its fun and gutsy personality. The challenge in 2022 was finding a new food innovation that would maintain the extraordinary results of previous years (Mustard Ice Cream, Mustard Beer, and Mustard Buns) and present the product in a new, unexpected mustard occasion: breakfast. This action addresses Gen Pop but focuses on key psychographics for the brand: those who are adventurous with food and those who are indulgent with condiments. It had a KPI of 500M impressions counting Earned Media and Social Media.
Through previous Mustard Day activations, we’ve learned that infusing our Yellow Mustard into universally loved foods brings better results. When we infused French’s into ice cream and beer, we created more conversation than when we infused our mustard into hot dog buns. As buns do not have the same social significance as ice cream and beer. So, we discovered that when we change a food that people love and worship, people it creates conversation.
However, the pertinent insight comes from Mustard: Mustard is a divisive flavor. People either love it or hate it. Therefore, when mustard gets mixed with a beloved host food, emotions arise, curiosity from mustard lovers, and offense from those who feel it is a crime to sabotage ice cream or beer with a condiment they hate. Love means emotion. Emotion leads to conflict. Conflict fosters buzz.
To prove that French’s Mustard works with breakfast we infused our Classic Yellow Mustard into one of America’s most beloved breakfast foods-the donut.
We partnered with Dough Doughnuts, a NYC donut franchise, to make limited edition French’s National Mustard Donuts for Mustard Day, August, 6th 2022. Leading up to Mustard Day we used PR tactics to excite press: We made bespoke press mailers with French’s Mustard Donut swag that highlighted on our French’s for breakfast theme. We catered local NYC morning news shows, and we even invited influencers to taste for themselves at Dough’s flagship location in the Flatiron district a few days before our Mustard Day event.
Then on Mustard Day, we took over all six of Dough’s locations in the NYC and Brooklyn boroughs, and made our bright yellow donuts available for anyone to order online for nationwide delivery.
In addition to our press tactics and pop-up activation, we used French’s owned channels to post organically real-time, and made frenchs/mustard-donuts a landing page where consumers could order donuts online, and where we featured two bake-at-home recipes so that Mustard Donuts could live on beyond National Mustard Day.
Outside of organic and guerilla tactics, we utilized paid media to amplify our French’s for breakfast message across display, and social channels; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
Mustard Donuts doubled McCormick KPI of impressions, 500M, garnering more than 1B earned media impressions (1,049,777,021) along with 64M social media impressions, 743 unique media outlets (mostly morning shows,) and additionally, the online giveaway sold out in seconds. That week, French’s mustard saw a YoY sales increase of 3.2%.