Change Your Life with Bacon

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term (SILVER)

Client Credits: Maple Leaf Foods
Jerry Sen - Director Digital & Social Marketing
Chantal Butler - VP Marketing & Masterbrands
D'Arcy Finley - VP Integrated Marketing
David Grachnik - Director Packaged Meats
Brenden Desjardins - Marketing Manager Bacon
David Alexander - Marketing Manager Digital

Agency Credits: john st.
Angus Tucker - Executive Creative Director - john st.
Stephen Jurisic - Executive Creative Director - john st.
Denver Eastman - Art Director - john st.
Jacob Greer - Copywriter - john st.
Anna Neilsen - Broadcast Producer - john st.
Heather Crawley - Account Lead - john st.
Jared Applebaum - Account Director - john st.
Amelia MacGregor - Account Executive - john st.
Allison Coggins - Strategic Planner - john st.
Will Beauchamp - Director - Aircastle Films
Jamie Cussen - Director - Aircastle Films
Lauren Corber - Line Producer - Aircastle Films
Anne Feldman - Editor - Aircastle Films


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):July 2013 - August 2013
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: July 2013
Base Period as a Benchmark: July 2012 - August 2012

a) Overall Assessment

Maple Leaf bacon has been enjoyed by Canadians for decades; in the fresh bacon category they are the market leader. 

But in the emerging fully-cooked bacon category there was a huge opportunity to raise the profile of their most profitable bacon product, Ready Crisp bacon, which was suffering from low awareness, limited trial and flat sales.

The fully-cooked bacon category itself was growing at 9% YOY and Ready Crisp bacon was at risk of not keeping pace with the competition.

We saw an opportunity to introduce this relatively unknown product to consumers in an unforgettable fashion that would result in it appearing more often on their weekly grocery-shopping lists. 

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Our goal was to help consumers recognize Maple Leaf Ready Crisp Bacon on-shelf and trial this product.

Key measures of success for this campaign included:

  • Double-digital sales growth versus previous year.
  • Ad awareness goal > 30%.
  • Support Net Promoter Score growth for Maple Leaf.

c) Annual Media Budget
$100,000 - $200,000

d) Geographic Area
Canada - National

a) Analysis and Insight

Bacon advertising often caters to a male target, appealing to their carnal desire for meaty, decadent and over-the-top uses of bacon. But our primary target and principal grocery shopper is a much different sort - Mom.

Our target was busy mothers (aren't they all?) with young children and a husband who likely doesn't pitch in a great deal around the house (or at least as much as she thinks he could).

Through a john st. segmentation study, we identified a bulls-eye group of moms that the Maple Leaf Ready Crisp offering would most appeal to. Convenience reigns paramount for them and food preparation takes a back seat to the rest that life has to offer. A “healthy diet” is not top priority to them; they want to revel in delicious food and believe decadent food choices can be counterbalanced by an active lifestyle. They are known as Carpe Diems and quick, easy meal fixes is what they are looking for [Footnote 1]. How could they possibly resist a fully-cooked bacon product that’s ready in the microwave in five seconds?

Knowing we had a product on our hands with attributes the Carpe Diems will respond positively to, how could we set ourselves apart from others in the bacon category? What would compel her to have Ready Crisp bacon readily available in her kitchen? 

One thing all Moms can agree on is that every time the smell of bacon is wafting around the house, everyone comes running. There's power in bacon. Maybe mom could harness the power of bacon and use it to her advantage by getting her family to roll up their sleeves and help make her days just a bit easier.  

b) Communication Strategy

The strategic insight manifested creatively into, “Change Your Life With Bacon”. We chose to talk to her about bacon in a way that showed her we understood her, and that we’re on her side.

Through every touch-point with our target, be it entertaining video content or a social post on Facebook, we would reminder her to, “Change Your Life With Bacon.” In other words, create food incentives for your family using Ready Crisp bacon and they will be more than happy to help around the house. 

Driving awareness of, “Change Your Life With Bacon,” and assuring attribution to Maple Leaf Ready Crisp, was key to the success of the advertising effort.  

Footnote 1: john st., “Primary Grocery Shopper Segmentation Study,” 2008.

a) Media Used

The campaign consisted of the following elements:

  • Facebook tab, included:
    • 4 x online videos (Launch, Bed, Bath, Nails)
    • Downloadable Chore Chart
  • YouTube pre-roll paid media.
  • Unpaid promotion through Maple Leaf existing social channels (Facebook, Twitter).
  • Blogger outreach and press release/media relations. 

b) Creative Discussion

Mom has so much to accomplish every day; she's got a lot running through her mind. This insight manifested through our series of four online videos (Launch, Bed, Bath and Nails) demonstrating how you could "Change Your Life With Bacon". 


In our lead video, mom takes us through her typical day - taking out the trash, packing lunches, etc. Dad and the kids are nowhere to be seen. But when she prepares meals with bacon, something changes.

Suddenly dad is changing the broken light bulb. The kids are setting the table. Mom now realizes she can use bacon to get her family to do all the things that they should do but don't. The execution was tongue-in-cheek but the insight rang very true - judging by the volume of posts from viewers saying things like, "I totally bribe my boyfriend with bacon!"

A declarative statement like, "Change Your Life With Bacon," required an equally bold design approach. An official badge was developed to house this claim and served as the anchor for our design system, featured consistently through campaign assets. At the conclusion of each video we provided mom with an annotated drive to the other videos in the series, augmenting exposure to the full suite of content and the Ready Crisp brand.


c) Media Discussion

When deciding where to locate, the hub housing our videos, we decided a Facebook tab, connected to Maple Leaf's following of 225,000 users, was a natural fit. Moms are super active Facebook users, with over 4-out-of-5 noting it as their preferred social channel. And they check their Facebook account on average about 5 times per day [Footnote 2]. Avoiding a high cost platform allowed us to focus the limited budget toward creating exceptionally entertaining video content and maximizing the paid spend through YouTube pre-roll.  


Knowing that our Carpe Diem target is a highly “turned on” group seeking constant entertainment and stimulation, we apportioned the majority of our media spend promoting our video content through YouTube (pre-roll), the worlds biggest entertainment platform.

Based on YouTube benchmarks (against spend), we had aimed for 1.5 million video views but actually generated over 2.3 million views, reflecting an average view time much higher than the norm.

The paid media effort was supplemented by leveraging Maple Leaf existing social channels. A series of Facebook posts encouraged organic sharing of the video content with a CSR tie-in (every share = one meal donated to a Canadian in need) and highlighted a clever downloadable chore chart, providing suggestions on what bacon recipe would elicit what kind of work around the house (e.g. A BLT = a made bed).


A Twitter launch party also gave moms the chance to talk about how they often used bacon to their advantage. Nancy from Saskatoon tweeted, “Drip under kitchen sink now fixed thanks to bacon peanut butter cookies #changeyourlifewithbacon”. In fact, moms had a lot to talk to say during this party, which led to #ChangeYourLifeWithBacon trending at the #1 spot in Canada.

Footnote 2: "Moms and Media 2013," Edison Research,, 2013.

a) Sales/Share Results

The digital campaign resulted in a 14% gross sales lift versus the same period the previous year. Beyond the paid campaign period, through Q4 2013, sales leveled and rested at 5% higher than the previous year (AC Nielson BrandTrack).

Awareness of, "Change Your Life With Bacon,” registered at 42%, versus the 30% objective, and drove numerous positive associations for the Maple Leaf brand. This was a stupendous result for this digital led campaign, relative to Prime (47% awareness) and Schneiders (25% awareness), which have been in market for many years, supported by more substantial spends and advertised across various channels including national television [See Figure 1., Footnote 3].


Despite a steady advertising and promotional spend for all Maple Leaf activity compared to the last few years, Net Promoter Score for Maple Leaf grew by 3% versus the previous year and was the strongest score for the brand in over 6 years. 

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

Footnote 3: BrandSpark International, “2014 Maple Leaf Foods Equity Study,” 2014.

a) General Discussion

The only difference between the case period and prior periods was the highly successful, “Change Your Life With Bacon,” campaign. No incremental spend, promo, distribution or product innovation was used. With over 10 million social impressions registered during the 2-month campaign, not only did we join the bacon conversation in the digital space, we owned the conversation. Our effort was noted by the Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s top three viral campaigns of 2013.

Maple Leaf considered the digital led campaign to be so successful that further investment was secured beyond the case period. Numerous women have asked us through social media to continue to tell the story of the mom protagonist – “How else has her life changed?” – and we’re showing them that with time under her belt, mom has become quite the pro at harnessing the power of bacon. 

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

The marketing and advertising budget through the campaign period was comparable to the previous year. 


Pricing was stable through the campaign period and consistent with regular pricing through 2013. 

Distribution Changes:

There was no increase in distribution during the campaign period. 

Unusual Promotional Activity:

During the campaign, there was a $1,000 challenge promoted to consumers on Maple Leaf’s recipe platform,, encouraging uploads of recipes using Ready Crisp bacon. Although this increased visibility to the Ready Crisp product, it was extremely limited relative to exposure to the digital campaign (within a couple thousand views versus the campaign period’s 2 million video views and 10 million social impressions). 

Other Potential Causes:

There are no other factors of note that would have caused an increase in sales.