Terry Tate, played by former NFL linebacker Lester Speight in a famous 2003 Reebok campaign, isn't in the 60-second ad despite appearing in Hellmann’s Super Bowl teaser last week. But comedian, actor and writer Pete Davidson is, along with his mom Amy Davidson.
Hellmann’s is sticking with its “Make Taste Not Waste” campaign, which began last year with a Super Bowl spot starring Amy Schumer, despite criticism last month by a major investor.
“A company which feels it has to define the purpose of Hellmann’s mayonnaise has in our view clearly lost the plot,” said Terry Smith, who runs the Fundsmith Equity Fund, a major Unilever shareholder, in a letter to his investors. “The Hellmann’s brand has existed since 1913 so we would guess that by now consumers have figured out its purpose (spoiler alert – salads and sandwiches).”
Clearly Smith never tried Hellmann’s in fajitas. And while Ben Crook, senior marketing director for Hellmann’s North America, declined to comment on Smith’s letter, he believes the brand has a winning game plan both with the ads and its broader purpose.
“What I can say is that we’ve had a very strong year of performance as a business and as a brand,” Crook said. “And we firmly believe obviously that the momentum of this business is being driven by the step up in our purpose campaign, taking a stance against food waste and trying our best to make a difference.”
Hellmann’s, and Mayo, would like people to know that 40% of food is wasted in the U.S., and that 40% of that waste comes from the home. Mayonnaise plays a role in many second-day recipes that can prevent that waste, Crook said. And rather than send a real-life linebacker into homes to bruise ribs of food-wasting miscreants, Unilever is actually going a more educational route.
As part of this year’s campaign, Hellmann's is launching a four-week behavior change program called “Fridge Night,” which Crook said is scientifically proven to help people reduce their food waste at home. The program includes a free Fridge Night app that, among other things, provides “Flexipes,” or flexible recipes to turn left-behind ingredients into meals. Mayo’s wife, Chantel Mayo, and recipe creator and chef Andy Hay serve as hosts.