Bar-S Foods is a value brand that makes hot dogs, sausages, lunchmeat, bacon, and other items, and it is one of the top selling brands in grocery stores based on volume.
Because of its low price and historic lack of marketing investment, Bar-S struggles to compete with well-loved and well-funded brands such as Oscar Mayer, Johnsonville and Hillshire Farm that sell at higher prices. Additionally, the rise in private label grocery brands impacted their role as a value brand leader – eroding their ability to compete solely on price.
For years, Bar-S was seeing slowly declining sales and brand health.
When Bar-S launched the Iconic Summer Mashup campaign in 2021, we pivoted the brand away from function and price-based marketing, creating a campaign that drove an emotional connection leveraging pop culture, 90’s nostalgia and music to develop a parody music video.
After the prior year’s success, Bar-S wanted to continue with the Iconic Summer Mashup campaign theme to drive further momentum for the brand – building even stronger emotional connections with both core and new customers through targeted digital and social media and finding a way to leverage today’s social media influencers to activate a music-inspired campaign.
But 2022 brought a whole new two-part challenge: beat last year’s +12% sales growth numbers and increase brand health metrics including: awareness, perception, and consideration.
Based on the success of our 2021 Parody Campaign, we knew we had built a strong emotional connection to Bar-S through music and 90’s nostalgia. However, we wanted to learn more to ensure any new campaign would be even stronger.
When we took a deeper look at the Bar-S “Dependable” parents, we learned two key things. First, we saw that they over-indexed as country music fans and for an overall country music lifestyle – clothing, hardworking and where they lived geographically. Second, love for nostalgia wasn’t just limited to the 90’s. We saw some songs, artists, and culture had a halo effect from the 90’s that allowed us to look for mashup options from the late 80’s or early 2000’s.
We also learned that the “Dependable” does care about the brands they buy. Yes, they are driven predominantly on price, but they also wanted to have a sense of pride that a value brand could also be a household brand name. They wanted to be just as proud to share the foods on their tables as they were with their communities online. We had to create something that was equal parts delicious and entertaining.
To really connect with the Bar-S “Dependable” audience around music, pop culture and nostalgia that were most relevant to them, we created another parody song and music video. This time though, we fused our mashup from two genres not often seen together.
For our 2022 campaign, we partnered with country music stars Big & Rich, and their entourage, to do a country mashup of one of the most recognizable songs of all time, MC Hammer’s 1990 hit, “U Can’t Touch This”.
Instead of “Hammer Time”, we created Ham or Turkey Time, bringing together a honkytonk living room, a barnyard bash, and a mechanical hot dog for the Bar-S song and music video anthem.
Ham or Turkey Timed DROPPED just after Memorial Day, to kick off another summer grilling season. Bar-S and Big & Rich collaborated on social posts and shared the video across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, but that wasn’t enough.
To promote the song/video and to get key Bar-S products into the hands and social feeds of influencers, we created customized guitar cases with country music inspired tour-inspired stickers on them. Each guitar case had a speaker attached inside, so when every influencer opened the case, the song automatically played. We filled the cases with country-style swag like jean jackets, custom jacket patches and a cooler containing Bar-S Beef Franks, Fresh Pack turkey slices and their new chorizo links.
We sent the guitar cases to lifestyle and musically focused macro influencers and food & recipe focused “dependable” micro influencers to record their unboxing reactions, dancing, and recipe videos that kickstarted the campaign nationally.
From there, we turned on CTV, paid digital and social media throughout the summer to ensure 15 and 30 music videos hit as many Bar-S consumers in our key target markets as possible.
With a limited total all-in budget of less than $1.6 million (production, talent and media), Ham or Turkey Time was a success across multiple fronts.
Our influencer outreach from our macro and micro influencer unboxing videos generated over 3 million views across TikTok and Instagram to new Bar-S audiences that kickstarted our music-based campaign and had influencers showcasing key Bar-S products such as beef franks, fresh packs of turkey and their new chorizo links while listening to Ham or Turkey Time.
Digital & social media, along with a limited CTV test, delivered over 107 million campaign impressions and 65 million video views of Ham or Turkey Time in 12 key Bar-S media markets.
In our targeted media markets, the brand saw an impressive +23% growth in dollar sales that was measured, year over year, against the same markets from 2021 that generated a +12% growth.
The successful brand growth also contributed to the brand's total U.S. dollar sales growth of more than 3x the category (30% vs. 9% respectively) and volume sales growth of +15% vs. a -4% decline for the category. Bar-S dollar share of category also increased +0.5 pts and Bar-S volume share of category grew +1.3 pts during the campaign period.
Finally, Bar-S saw major jumps in its brand health scores vs. its marketplace competitors: increasing Bar-S brand awareness (from 65%-70%, +5pts), consideration (from 45%-51%, +6pts) and perception (from 47%-52%, +5pts) – based on pre & post campaign tracking.
Now that sounds good.