When the coronavirus crisis sent U.S. businesses and schools into lockdown in March, quarantining consumers of all ages and experience levels began donning aprons and baking their anxieties away, opting to produce their own sourdough, focaccia and challah instead of going the store-bought route. As a result of the DIY bread craze, King Arthur Flour saw sales rise more than 2,000% year over year. The 230-year-old company seized the opportunity in July to rebrand as King Arthur Baking Company, a name and logo change that reflected its commitment to “kneading joy in the kitchen.”
After conducting consumer research (pre-Covid), King Arthur learned that its audience has always baked to counter what is going on in the world, citing misunderstandings among people, a lack of community and cohesion and a hypercompetitive society as some of the major triggers for stress-baking. These insights led to the company’s first campaign since its rebrand with a focus on how baking has the power to bring people together.
The 60-second spot, produced in partnership with storytelling production company 1stAveMachine Buenos Aires and agency DCX Growth Accelerator, debuted today, ahead of what would typically be the holiday shopping season. “The Power of Baking” highlights real-life bakers from New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans cooking in their personal kitchens alongside family and friends. The commercial also features a custom song by award-winning songwriter Alana Da Fonseca, “We Will Rise,” to inspire hope in an unusually difficult year.
“The idea was to bring a glimpse of unity and hope to the screen by portraying authentic, legitimate bakers with profound heritages behind their passion for turning dough into bread and pastry dishes,” said Tomi Dieguez, director, 1st Ave Machine Buenos Aires, in a statement. “What they bake is actually a vivid representation of their family traditions, where they come from and what they can make out of it. That’s what this campaign humbly aspires to be: a mix of cultures from America’s bakers today.”
The campaign launched on TV and digital today, and will run through the end of 2020. On social (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest), “The Power of Baking” will be live until the end of January 2021. The campaign also includes outdoor advertising in Boston, Seattle, Austin, Texas, and Denver from Nov. 2 until the end of December and a series of food podcast promotions, which kick off early this month and will run through January 2021.
“So far, people are reacting to the things some of us were most excited about, like the ending message of ‘we will rise’ or ‘good things will rise’” Bill Tine, vp of marketing at King Arthur Baking Company, told nitronet. Tine also said people have already taken note of the original song. “We wanted to show how baking could be at the heart of the solution to cultural tension, and we wanted something really soulful. And we think Alana chose the right person [Ashley Nguyen DeWitt] to nail the tone,” he said.
Regarding the decision to kick off a holiday campaign ahead of the usual holiday shopping months (November and December), Tine noted that while the holidays are looking different this year, the messages in the campaign are evergreen. “Some of our ad spots are somewhat timeless. They actually resonate during holiday, but also resonate other times. Some of the stories of the actual bakers that we featured, because we wanted to be authentic, may be more holiday-specific because they have do with gathering,” he said.