Becel Baking

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term (SILVER)

Client Credits: Unilever
Client: Unilever
Valerie Rosseau, Senior Brand Building Manager
Pinky Tang, Senior Assistant Brand Building Manager
Kyle Marancos, Senior Brand Development Manager
Kristen Denega, Senior Assistant Brand Building Manager
Megan Adderly, Category Trade Manager
Izabela Kvesic, Shopper Marketing Manager
Avi Levine, Category Insights Manager
Robin Hassan, Channel Communications Lead
Nadean Peskun, Assistant Nutrition & Health Manager
June Kuruc, Senior Kitchen Coordinator
Jeremy Knoll, Finance Manager
Stephanie Lombardi, Shopper Marketing Manager
Izabela Kvesic, Shopper Marketing Manager

Agency Credits: Blue Ant Media
Creative Agency: Ariad
Carolyn O’Grady, Account Director
Kate Warnock, Account Manager
PR Agency: Edelman
Melissa Legaspi, Account Director, Consumer Marketing
Sarah Crabbe, Senior Vice President, National Practice Lead, Consumer
Sarah Kelsey, Senior Account Manager, Digital
Emily Barnes, Senior Account Executive
Media Agency: Mindshare
Charlene Bickerstaffe, Director, Invention
Theresa Mcmahon, Senior Associate Media Planning
Michelle Mruck, Senior Planning Manager
Retail Marketing Agency: Barrows
Samantha Spergel, Account Director
Video Creative: Bue Ant Media
Ryan Fuss , SVP Media Solutions
Matthew Manuge, Associate Creative Director
Nick Appleton, Supervising Producer
Remy Podrats, Account Executive
Renee Tsang, Project Manager
Creative: The Hive
Michelle Prowse, VP of Strategy and Planning
Daniel Langer-Hack, Creative Lead


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):April 4th - June 27th, 2015
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: March 31st, 2015
Base Period as a Benchmark: April 4th - June 27th, 2014

a) Overall Assessment

For more than 45 years, Canadians wanting a heart-healthier lifestyle have reached for Becel, making it Canada’s favourite spreads brand. However, recent misperceptions of butter being healthier due to its naturalness has caused consumers to shift from margarine to butter. In 2014, the margarine segment declined -4% in $Vol and lost -240bps in $Shr to butter - a loss of $14 million in a $816 million category. What was once a 50/50 category split between butter and margarine 15 years ago has now become a 60/40 in favour of butter. As Unilever’s core spreads brand, there was a strong urgency for Becel to stem the decline of margarine and put together an action plan to drive consumption and regain share. To further exacerbate the situation, the gluten-free trend has caused people to eat less bread thereby reducing the number of spreading occasions. Becel desperately needed to drive new usage occasions beyond spreading.


The Canadian Becel brand team worked closely with a team of Unilever chefs in the U.S. to develop a unique baking recipe that transforms the way Canadians bake. The “Anything Goes Cookie Dough” recipe is a versatile master cookie dough to which you can add anything you’re craving (i.e. chocolate chips, oats, salted caramel, seeds, etc.) for consistently soft & chewy cookies, guaranteed. 

b) Resulting Business Objectives

The #1 objective for the Unilever Spreads Team was to stem Becel declines within the total “Yellow Fats” (Butter + Margarine) category. As the number one brand in the margarine category, we also wanted to bring new news to our retailers and excite them with a plan to drive profitable growth and turn around the margarine segment.

c) Annual Media Budget
$2 - $3 million

d) Geographic Area

a) Analysis and Insight

There were a number of factors working against Becel: From the shift to butter to reduced spreading occasions as a result of gluten-free diets, to breakfast becoming grab & go, Canadians are using significantly less margarine than they used to. There was an urgent need to expand the usage of Becel beyond spreading.


Through the help of the Insights team, it was discovered that 70% of Canadian households bake from scratch, but only 30% bake with margarine.  Additionally, the average quantity of butter/oil/margarine used in one baking occasion is 1 cup vs. 1 tsp per spreading occasion.  There was a multi-million volume driving opportunity to get Canadians to swap out butter and bake with margarine, but how? With hundreds of thousands of recipes in the market, we needed a recipe that was truly unique to grab consumers’ attention and ultimately get them to bake with Becel.


The team learnt that the #1 most baked item in Canada is cookies and that Canadians loved their cookies soft and chewy. However, introducing another copycat cookie recipe amongst the many Canadians already have in their recipe folders or can easily find online wasn’t going to cut it. Since we knew that 97% of consumers follow recipes to some extent (TNS 2015 baking study), our job to be done was to get a new preferred cookie recipe used in Canadian kitchens featuring Becel as the secret ingredient.


The team dug another level deeper and discovered that the love Canadians had for cookies meant that they already had a number of recipes in their cookies recipe arsenal (i.e. chocolate chip cookie recipe, salted caramel cookie recipe, etc.).  What if we offered Canadians just ONE recipe with endless cookie possibilities?


Not only does the use of Becel as the secret ingredient promise soft and chewy cookies every time, but it is a double win as Becel is 80% less saturated fat than butter, taking the guilt out of baking. In addition, since soft & chewy results are an ownable benefit of cooking/baking with margarine and Canadians loved soft & chewy cookies, we wanted to make the soft & chewy benefit synonymous with Becel.

b) Communication Strategy

The brief to the media & creative team was simple—To make Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough the last cookie recipe Canadians would ever need.


There were 2 main messages we needed to land with our consumer:

1. One recipe, endless possibilities (easy to remember and create a plethora of cookie options)

2. Soft & Chewy Cookies Guaranteed because of Becel (reinforcing the product benefit and why they should choose Becel over butter)


Through research, it was discovered that Canadians bake the most on weekends and for key occasions such as Easter, Mother’s Day, etc. Our goal was to get cookies on the minds of millions in Canada during the time people are thinking about their next baking occasion and equip them with our versatile cookie recipe that promises soft & chewy results every time, thanks to the secret ingredient, Becel.

a) Media Used

Chart 1: Media Used Fowchart


b) Creative Discussion

In a world where video content is taking over, particularly in the foodie space, we knew having killer pieces of video content was crucial. Since the Anything Goes Cookie Dough concept scored a bright green score with Brain Juicer (Please refer to BrainJuicer chart in Cause & Effect section), indicating that it was in the top 15% of all recipes tested in Canada, we ensured that the creative stayed true to the concept. It was crucial that the creative feature what consumers loved most about the concept—the versatility of the recipe. Understanding that people consume media differently across different mediums, several versions of creative were developed depending on the medium. For example, YouTube users are constantly searching for how-to recipe content; hence, we created a :60s Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough how-to video.

Creatively, we wanted to keep our visuals simple and let the food be the star. Inspired by the "food porn" recipe video craze, we storyboarded a two camera angle approach (top down and extreme close-up) that would really show off the mouth-watering visuals. Having fun with various jump-cuts (stop-motion), the video shows the Anything Goes Cookie Dough being made, while "cool" text-on-screen reiterates the ingredients, emphasizing how simple the recipe is. We end with 4 plates of perfectly delicious soft and chewy cookies, all made with the same base recipe.

The spot itself is simple (like the recipe), yet engaging and modern. And speaks to the "inner foodie" in all of us, inspiring us to bake with Becel. Judges, attached you will find two versions of the creative.

(see attached :30s and :60s creative 

c) Media Discussion

Approach to media was two-fold.  Firstly, we had to bring awareness of the easy, versatile, recipe through mass communication in TV, print, and digital.  We utilized TV and print environments that resonated with our target, and focused on digital platforms that we knew she (women 35+) was going to for baking inspiration and information.

Secondly, we teamed up with credible partners, like CBC and Canadian Living, to really showcase the versatility of the recipe and drive engagement. 

Through our partnership with CBC, we created 4 :60s vignettes featuring Kary Osmond (from Best Recipes Ever) that ran nationally in commercial time across targeted CBC programming.  In each vignette, Kary prepared a delicious rendition of the recipe, step by step, using Becel Buttery Taste instead of butter.  Kary also appeared in 2 episodes of Steven and Chris where she prepared a seasonal version of the Anything Goes Cookie Dough recipe that aligned with a key baking occasion, Easter.  All of the content was easily accessible online through the custom Baking with Kary, and Steven and Chris hubs on

We also leveraged the credibility of Canadian Living’s Food Director, Annabelle Waugh, by creating a 3-page editorial that featured Anything Goes Cookie Dough and Canadian Living’s take on Baking with Heart with Becel.  The section highlighted baking tips form the CL kitchen’s team including being able to substitute Becel Buttery Taste for butter in any recipe.  The feature ran nationally in Canadian Living, Coup de Pouce and Style at Home.  For the first time ever, the Canadian Living team gave their “Tested ‘Till Perfect” seal of approval to an external recipe:  The Anything Goes Cookie Dough, making it a recipe Canadians can feel confident in trying.

a) Sales/Share Results

In the 12 weeks the Becel baking program was in market, Becel gained +92bps in $Shr with two out of three periods exhibiting Becel’s highest share history. This program helped stem declines that Becel has been experiencing over the past few years and improved baseline (non-promoted) sales decline to almost flat (Note: Becel baseline declines ranged from -3% to -8% over the past 2 years). Becel Buttery, the program’s hero variant experienced the strongest baseline (regular, non-promoted sales) growth since its launch in 2008, +8%.

During the peak month (May) of the program, Becel stole the most share from butter in category history (+270bps shift from Margarine segment to Butter), proving that Becel was successful at converting consumers to bake with Becel instead of butter. 

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

Through a study we ran with BrainJuicer, 87% of consumers who heard about the recipe said they would try it. We knew Canadians are proud bakers and are never shy to showcase their baked goods, so to seal the deal and get Canadians to actually go out and buy Becel, we encouraged consumers to show us their take on the Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough for a chance to win a Cuisinart stand mixer valued at $599. Consumers simply shared a picture of their take of our recipe using #BakingWithBecel on social media to enter and nearly 1,000 entries were submitted. At our key retail partners, such as Sobeys, the Becel Baking program built basket sizes and drove them to an all-time high over the past 3 years. As we are still awaiting household penetration data, early results showing the shift from butter to Becel is promising.

c) Other Pertinent Results

1)   PROFIT GROWTH: The Anything Goes Cookie Dough baking program allowed Becel, one of Unilever’s most profitable brands to reverse declines.  

2) CANADA FIRST CANADA BEST: The positive 12-week results of the Becel Baking Program in Canada has caught attention around the Unilever globe and has now been deemed a global repeatable model which will be replicated in other Unilever spreads markets.  

3)   STABILIZATION OF CATEGORY: Baking program drove consumption and helped Becel regain share which stabilized the shift in the category towards butter.

4)   NEW BRAND STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS FORMED: Recognizing Becel is new to the baking space, forming partnerships with brands that are already established in baking would help us build credibility. Strategic brand partnerships were formed with Cuisinart and Burnbrae Eggs to help Becel build awareness, drive recipe penetration, grow share and achieve retail presence in multiple touch points in store.

d) Return on Investment

As the objective of the baking program was to stem further declines on Becel and restore dollar sales to last year’s levels, a ROI figure is not available.

a) General Discussion

Getting Canadians to replace butter with Becel in their baking recipes is no small feat as we are trying to change consumer behavior. While a 3 month program in market is too short of a time frame to drastically change the way Canadians bake, sales and share results prove that consumers were open to trying our new recipe using Becel and made the switch back from butter. In the chart attached, the trend over the past 2 years has been in favour of butter, but during the time of the Becel Baking campaign, the shift from margarine to butter has stabilized.

Chart 2: Butter & MArgarine Shift Stabilization


In addition, since butter/margarine are heavily promoted categories (52% of category volume sold on promotion), it is important to look at baseline (non-promoted) sales over time. Becel’s baseline sales have been struggling over the past 2 years; however, it can be seen in the recent 12 week period that the baking program has helped stem the baseline declines with Becel’s non-promoted volume flat to 2014.

Not only did the program convince Canadians to bake with Becel, it proved to provide enough value that they were willing to buy Becel at full retail price.

Chart 3: Becel Non-Promoted Sales


We tested the recipe concept as well as the :30s version of the ad with Canadian consumers and both tests came back with strong results and a green score. The Anything Goes Cookie Dough concept was top 15% of all recipes tested in Canada (please refer to chart attached), and the :30s ad achieved an overall green score with particularly strong performance in branding, enjoyment, and persuasion (please refer to chart attached).

Finally, we knew that our target was active in the digital space and that we needed to get her attention in contextually relevant spaces (i.e. food and lifestyle sites and blogs) and driving her to for the recipe. We worked with The Hive to develop digital banner ads and tested them with consumers through Metrix Lab. The results came back very positive as it scored green across all metrics. Please refer to creative and results attached. 

Chart 4: Brainjuicer January 2015 Baking Concepts Study


Chart 5: Becel :30s Ad Millward Brown Test Results


Chart 6: Becel Digital Ad


Chart 7: Becel Digital Assets Metrix Lab Test Results


b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

There were no unusual pricing/promotional activities or distribution gains during the time of the program. 


There were no unusual pricing/promotional activities or distribution gains during the time of the program. 

Distribution Changes:

There were no unusual pricing/promotional activities or distribution gains during the time of the program. 

Unusual Promotional Activity:

There were no unusual pricing/promotional activities or distribution gains during the time of the program. 

Other Potential Causes:

There were no unusual pricing/promotional activities or distribution gains during the time of the program.