Incogmeato AUTHOR Natalie Koltun@natalie_koltun
First published on
Plant-based meat isn't new, but the category has seen an uptick in recent years as consumers look to healthier protein alternatives. Still, 60% of Americans want to try plant-based proteins but are skeptical of the taste, according to a Kellogg study by The Cambridge Group.
This month, 45-year-old MorningStar Farms is tapping a phased strategy to drive awareness and challenge consumers to take the leap. Its first marketing campaign launched in early August on traditional mass-reach vehicles like TV and digital video, communicating a challenger mindset to express how meat alternatives can "look, cook and taste" like the real thing.
Incogmeato's campaign takes a lighthearted, good-natured approach to playfully goad skeptics into trying its new alternative meats. The first phase of the effort associated the brand with summer barbecue meals, and now, it's extending the messaging into the fall season as people think about back-to-school and cooking colder-weather meals like chili and spaghetti, according to Young.
The brand is stretching into nontraditional marketing channels like sampling integrations and influencer tie-ins as parent company Kellogg invests heavily in MorningStar Farms and marketing. Kellogg announced last week a $43 million expansion to MorningStar Farms' Ohio plant, amid a significant acceleration in marketing in the second half of 2020, CEO Steven Cahillane said on a July 30 call with investors.
This new phase of "Afraid you might like it?" extends the brand's name, packaging and cheeky messaging, and arrives around Labor Day, when consumers will see a ramp-up in national distribution of Incogmeato's full product line.
"We think about new phases as ways to continue to drive top-of-mind awareness and overcome the trial barrier of taste," Young said.
Incogmeato's phased strategy could spark brand chatter on social and compel skeptics to sample the vegan meat, while the new "spokesanimals" play into the influencer marketing trend and help to put a face to the brand, potentially making Incogmeato more relatable for people who may be hesitant. The Postmates deal was a clever pandemic pivot to share product samples via delivery instead of the traditional in-store venue. That partnership to reach residents of Denver and Dallas illustrates how brands including Incogmeato — and their deep-pocketed parent companies like Kellogg — can adjust to new consumer habits during the coronavirus health crisis.
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