Arctic Gardens - Give them some vegetables

Off to a Good Start (BRONZE)
Best Insight (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Arctic Gardens (Bonduelle)
Arctic Gardens, Christian Malenfant, Vice-President Marketing

Agency Credits: lg2
Luc Du Sault - Creative Director
Nicolas Boisvert - Copywriter
Mireille Côté - Strategic Planning
Catherine Darius - Strategic Planning
Ève Boucher - Account Exectuive
Johanne Pelland - Agency Producer
Lina Piché - Agency Producer
English Adaptation : Andrew Morgan, Marcus Hildebrandt


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):October 2014 – April 2015
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: October 2014
Base Period as a Benchmark: October 2013 – April 2014

a) Overall Assessment

Sales have been slipping (-3,5%) in the category of frozen vegetables for the past three years. This is an undifferentiated category led by price sensitivity where 54% of sales are generated through discounts and where private brands dominate. In addition, the consumption of fresh vegetables is continuously growing. In 2013, 90% of the vegetables consumed in Canada were fresh which represents a 3% increase over the previous year. [1] The frozen food section, in grocery stores, is less and less attractive to consumers and isn't visited as often. A total sale of all products was down 2% in 2013. [2]


In 2014, Arctic Gardens decided to modify its packaging to present its products as "recipe ideas" rather than simply frozen vegetables. An advertising campaign was then needed to enhance the perceived value of the brand and its products as compared to the other players in the category and help the brand escape the negative perception attributed to "frozen products".   


b) Resulting Business Objectives

Marketing objectives: Avoid a decline in sales, at the very least maintain the status quo, ideally, create a 1% to 2% increase in dollar sales for the 2013- 2014 season (from October to April) [3].


Communications objectives: 1. Make the Arctic Gardens "recipe ideas" known and considered for meals. 2. Improve the perceived value of the products in order to anchor them in the hearts of consumers and create long-term consumer loyalty.


c) Annual Media Budget
$2 - $3 million

d) Geographic Area
Canada (emphasis on Quebec and the Maritimes)

[1] Source : Nielsen, MarketTrack, Canada All Channels - 52 weeks to September 21, 2013.

[2] Source : Nielsen, MarketTrack - Frozen Vegetables - Latest Period Ending October, 19th, 2013.

[3] Arctic Gardens works to increase sales during this favourable period, October to April, and doesn't launch any campaigns or make a major investment during the summer when fresh vegetables are abundant.

a) Analysis and Insight

Who benefits the most from Arctic Gardens' simple and easy to prepare "recipe ideas"? It's mothers. They are the ones most often faced with the challenge of balancing work and family and the organisation of daily life, which includes planning and preparing meals. Today, women are still responsible for meals in 80% of households[1], 67% of mothers with children under 12 say they lack time to cook and 46% to eat.[2]  These mothers also report feeling three major stress spikes: at 8 am (breakfast), at 11:56 am (lunch) and at 5:30 pm (dinner)! [3] They feel that "eating well" has become complicated thanks to an ever-increasing selection of food.[4] It still remains very important to them that their children eat well and be healthy. On the other hand, it is wildly known that children don't like to eat their vegetables. They have, in fact, a unique sensory profile that makes them very selective and reticent to eat vegetables: they have a natural preference for sugar versus bitterness and acidity, neophobia, etc. [5] So, children don't like to eat their vegetables, but their mothers like when they eat their vegetables. It was with this daily challenge in front of us that a major revelation occurred - parents sometimes lie for the good of their children.  Why not capitalise on this insight to shed light on the truth and help children eat their vegetables? This was the starting point to position Arctic Gardens as the solution for helping children eat their vegetables. It reaches its target audience on a rational and emotional level as parents relate so strongly to it.

b) Communication Strategy

Arctic Gardens needed to liberate itself from the general negative opinion regarding the "frozen vegetable" category and stand out from private brands and the pricing war that exists in this category. The brand must become more important than its price for consumers (mothers) and become a simple and positive solution. The campaign was based upon the following premise: Arctic Gardens = the miracle solution for getting children to eat their vegetables. 

[1] Source : Évolution des comportements d’achat, CCIL, mai 2013.

[2] Source : Sondage, 2013

[3] Source : The Modern Mum Report, Daily Mail, juin 2013.

[4] Source : Sondage, 2013.

[5] Source : «Comment faire aimer les légumes aux enfants ?», Fondation Louis Bonduelle.

a) Media Used

Television: Quebec and Maritimes only    

Internet: Quebec, Maritimes, Ontario

Magazines: Canada

b) Creative Discussion

From a creative standpoint, the TV campaign features 4 15-second spots, aired in Quebec and the Maritimes, featuring children who were reluctant to eat their vegetables. With its signature "give them some vegetables" tagline, Arctic Gardens adopts a bold and humorous tone. We know that parents sometimes lie to their children for their own good, but the creative delivers a message that goes completely against the grain. In an age where books and articles are constantly giving advice to parents on how to raise their children and where every mother is trying to be "the perfect mom", Arctic Gardens encourages parents to break the rules (a little) when it to comes to successfully getting their children to eat vegetables. We see children who lie to their parents in a variety of different everyday situations, and then, ask, "Are these vegetables?" at the table. The parent is then allowed a small lie of their own and instead uses the Arctic Gardens recipe as the answer: "No, its Oriental Soup". We are allowing parents to be imperfect while providing a solution to reduce or even eliminate the stress of planning and meal preparation and finally getting their children to eat their vegetables. The TV campaign was also accompanied by ads in magazines that focused on recipes and families as well as several Web initiatives to showcase Arctic Gardens recipe ideas at strategic moments when mothers are making weekly meal plans or searching for recipe ideas.


c) Media Discussion

From a media standpoint, we needed to make choices to generate the maximum results within the budgetary limits. We chose to dominate where the sales volume was at its strongest (in Quebec) and where there was the greatest potential for increase thanks to excellent distribution across all points of sale. And the brand had to impose itself right onto the field by combining a maximum number of points of contact, including various Web formats such as mobile searches, recipe sites, parenting sites, video content with television and magazines. 

a) Sales/Share Results

While the category has known difficult years, (-3,5% for the last 3 years), Arctic Gardens registered an increase in sales over the campaign period for all of its products that were specifically advertised as well as the entirety of its "recipes" line.  This ranged from a +13% in dollar sales (Spaghetti mix) to + 49%[1] (soup) in Quebec (market with emphasis) as compared to the objective which was to maintain gains by not losing any sales, and gain ideally, a +1% to +2%.


In terms of brand value, the campaign has greatly contributed to improving the perception of the brand. The campaign was widely appreciated by Quebecers (80%) and residents of the Maritimes (72%).  The majority of consumers say their opinion of the brand is positive (73% Qc and 65% Maritimes) and a significant proportion of those surveyed say that their opinion of the brand has improved (+ 18% Qc and + 14% Maritimes).[2]


b) Consumption/ Usage Results


c) Other Pertinent Results


d) Return on Investment


[1] Source : Nielsen, MarketTrack - Frozen Vegetables – QUEBEC GB+DR+MM - Latest 20 Wks Ending March, 7th, 2015.

[2] Source : Léger, post-test report, Performance of the Arctic Gardens advertising campaign, June 5, 2015.

a) General Discussion

The 2014-2015 campaign was deployed from October 2014 to April 2015, the same period as the campaigns for preceding years. The presented results specifically concern the products and family of products advertised in the broadcasted television advertisements and in the overall campaign and match the campaign's broadcast period. The presented results in the preceding sections are taken from independent sources that have been cited in footnotes. 

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

There are no variables other than the marketing campaign that could have influenced the recorded sales increases or the perception results of the specific campaign or the brand. The campaign created very significant sales increases for specific products advertised during the campaign and in the market (Quebec) where the emphasis was considerable. The results relate only to sales made during the campaign period.  

Numerous events have occurred that have influenced the declining sales in Ontario and Western Canada. Fortunately, the campaign was able to counter this trend by creating large increases elsewhere. The campaign actually generated these results despite the fact that a major fire caused stock shortages in Ontario and Western Canada and that Arctic Gardens products have seen their distribution decreased due to a "delisting" in several points of sale nationwide



Distribution Changes:


Unusual Promotional Activity:


Other Potential Causes: