By Karen S.
I just saw the latest installation in the California dairy campaign. This particular spot deviates from from the tongue-in-cheek talking cows bit and takes on a more nostalgic angle. In this newest iteration, we experience the story of California farmers, up close and personal––the smell of the hay, the rhythms of the farm, the faces behind the brand. It’s all about the local farmers, their love for their farms and their craft.
Frito-Lay did the same thing last year, showcasing potato farmers in a little friendly competition over which state had the best potatoes. While you aren’t privy to the farmers’ names, you feel their pride in their work, and in their home state. As a viewer, you get that they not only care a lot about the quality of their crop, but are happy to play a part in making Lay’s chips.
Kashi is taking a slightly different approach, introducing us not to the real people behind the brand, but to the people behind the food. These are people who are passionate about flavor, health, nutrition, as well as the brand. Kashi lets us know that their philosophy of “seven whole grains on a mission” isn’t just lip service but actually a way of life for the people who work there.
So why does this personal and personable approach to branding work? A couple of reasons come to mind. As the local movement in food grows, mass manufacturers are at a distinct and undeniable disadvantage. Nothing can compare to visiting the local farmer’s market and actually meeting the farmer who raised the chicken who laid the egg this morning that you’ll have for breakfast tomorrow. He’ll talk at length about the types of chicken, feed quality, and yolk color, and buyers feel like they’re not only getting a fresher product, but are contributing to the local economy in a real and visible way. It makes commerce a more personal transaction. Brands who can create that local, crafted feeling remind us of the real people behind the food that we eat, and make us feel like someone cares about what goes into it.
A second reason? While the story about a group or a company is “news,” the story about an individual is human interest, particularly if it’s a person from our neighborhood. We’re curious about the lives of others, and having a real live person–someone like “us”–as the face of the brand is more emotional and compelling than talking cows. We’re especially interested when the face we see comes from our neck of the woods, like our friends in the Frito-Lay commercials. We’re proud of our home states and our home cities, and cheer for the local guy. These “local” connections make us feel like we’re part of the story, and that the brand understands who we are.
It’s a whole new twist on “think global, act local.”