“The campaign itself is rooted in research—consumers told us that they need to know how to do this in order to impress, and so we had to make it approachable and attainable,” Bartelme Kreske said in an interview. “So everything in the campaign, including the typography, is simple so that you can recognize the food. You can recognize the brie, and pair it with a berry. It’s a gorgeous, modern take on dry meats that’s not really being done in this category, and it’s super fun.”
Hormel executives are counting on recovery from the pandemic to accompany more gatherings for which charcuterie can be a conversation piece, she added. The company—perhaps known best as the maker of Spam—has assembled an array of foods that can be utilized in charcuterie, including its big acquisition of Planters last year, so the Columbus campaign also carries an ability to elevate several of its brands.
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Charcuterie—a French term that roughly translates to “pork shop”—has in recent years become something of a phenomenon in the kitchens of young consumers. Overarching consumer trends like customization and do-it-yourself crafting has populated social media properties like Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok with meat-and-cheese board photos. Young consumers also tend to associate the trend with Oscar Mayer’s popular grade-school lunchbox-stuffer, Lunchables, making charcuterie a grown-up version of a childhood favorite.
“Lunchables” is the most popular brand name accompanying social media posts using the #characuterie hashtag, according to an analysis by Talkwalker, a social media research firm. Other frequently used brands include Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Walmart. In terms of demographics, the posts are most popular among the 25-34 age group, followed by 18-24 year-olds, Talkwalker added.
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Columbus’ campaign is targeting 25-to-49 year-olds that it calls “uncompromising food explorers.”
Columbus Craft Meats—named for its founding on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco and acquired by Hormel in 2017—has until now been a West Coast brand but is eyeing national penetration behind the new campaign including the East Coast where it is encountering the powerful Boar’s Head brand. “We think Columbus is an awesome brand to go up against them,” Bartelme Kreske said.
Creative executions of “Like This” will reach digital displays, rich media, shopper marketing, paid social and connected TV channels. Ads will use a variety of photography and brief, bold type: “Pair. Like This,” “Indulge. Like This,” and “Better Bites. Like This.”