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How McCain Created Streetwear to Keep Breakfast on the Go Warm

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The teams from Rethink and McCain discuss their first campaign targeting teens, the partnership with designer Hayley Elsaesser, and why delicious food should enable pursuits, not get in their way, writes LBB’s Josh Neufeldt

How McCain Created Streetwear to Keep Breakfast on the Go Warm

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After all, who wants to face the challenges of the coming hours on an empty stomach? Teenagers, that’s who! Between school, extracurriculars, friends (and, of course, phones), a hot, delicious breakfast is usually one of the first morning items on the cutting board. Enter McCain. With the introduction of Breakfast Pockets, the Canadian frozen food company released a bundle of eggs, cheese and bacon - ready in only 90-seconds - targeted specifically for teens who’re raring to start their day. 

The thing about Canada, however, is that it’s cold. A Breakfast Pocket is a great option, but does it really carry the same appeal when the moment it’s taken outside, it meets the chill of the Canadian air? Luckily, McCain thought of this too, and had a solution ready to go. Partnering with Rethink, the two collaborated with award-winning, Toronto-based designer Hayley Elsaesser to produce the ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets Collection’, a streetwear set featuring insulated pockets designed to the exact specifications of the new Breakfast Pockets. With prices ranging from $60 to $80 dollars per item, the limited edition collection consists of a chore jacket, hoodie, and cargo pants. Drawing inspiration from popular culture and childhood nostalgia, the set is unisex in design, and is inspired by the fashion trends of the moment. 

Additionally, all proceeds generated by the collection will be put toward a good cause, as McCain’s partnership with the Grocery Foundation will see 100% of the raised money donated to the 'Toonies for Tummies' program - helping spearhead the effort to alleviate youth hunger in schools across Canada. 

LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with the teams from Rethink and McCain to learn more about how this campaign came to life. 


LBB> What was the brief, and what immediate ideas came to mind? 


Rethink> We wanted to introduce McCain’s new ‘Breakfast Pockets’ to Canada as an option for teens to get a hot, delicious breakfast that wouldn’t get in the way of everything on their to-do list. 

The idea of making ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets’ came fairly quickly. The capsule collection was the perfect companion piece to help bring the Breakfast Pockets to market while making the experience of eating them on-the-go even better. 



LBB> With Breakfast Pockets being a new addition to the McCain family, please tell us more about them! What makes them the perfect solution for hungry people on the go?


McCain> We know that Canadians love breakfast sandwiches. Our Breakfast Pockets were developed with popular QSR breakfast sandwiches in mind, so that consumers could experience their favourite breakfast sandwich flavours at home. Breakfast Pockets contain real eggs, bacon, and cheese wrapped in a pocket, AND are ready in 90 seconds!



LBB> What was the research process like for this campaign, and what were the key takeaways? And has this ad been especially good at connecting with teenagers? 


Rethink> Between school, extracurriculars and socialising, breakfast can tend to be the last thing on teens’ minds. 

McCain> We’ve conducted extensive research to develop a proprietary consumer demand space framework, which allowed us to gain insight into the unique emotional, functional, and technical needs of teens. What we’ve learned is that teens want something delicious, handheld, quick, and easy to prepare when they are in a rush to get out the door in the morning. ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets’ is the answer to what many teens can relate to: delicious food should enable your pursuits, not get in the way of them.



LBB> To design the streetwear, you worked with designer Hayley Elsaesser. How did you get her on board, what was the collaboration like, and what made her perfect for this campaign? 


Rethink> Hayley Elsaesser was wonderful to work with. We kicked around a few names of designers to help us bring this idea to life, but she was always at the top of our list. With experience designing ridiculously fun and eye-catching streetwear, and some experience working with brands, we knew she was perfect for the job. We love what she was able to do with our ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets’. 



LBB> Building on this, how did you go about creating pockets that could actually keep Breakfast Pockets warm? What was the design process like, and what materials did you use? 


Rethink> While Hayley designed ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets’, we worked with our partners at Strategic Lift to manufacture the full capsule collection. We tested out three different food-safe insulation materials to see which one kept the Breakfast Pockets warmest longest. The material we ended up using is the same type you’ll see in lunch boxes and food takeout warming bags. 


LBB> Another notable aspect of the campaign is the spot. Who directed, and why were they the right person to bring this campaign to life? 


Rethink> We wanted the ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets’ shoot to look and feel like a legitimate collection - which it was - so we worked with two people with plenty of experience in fashion. Caleb Ford was our director of photography, and Thompson Chan was our stills photographer. Caleb tag teamed the directing duties with the creative team at Rethink. 



LBB> What was the making of the spot like? How long did it take, and who did you choose to model the new streetwear?


Rethink> It was a simple one day shoot at a local high school in Vancouver. We filmed it during school hours (with permits and the school’s permission, obviously). We hired models who also knew their way around fashion shoots and had so much fun bringing this ridiculous, pocket-filled fashion video to life. 


LBB> The funky music really brings the spot to life! Who did you work with to find the right sound for the job? 


Rethink> The music was sourced by our creative team. The track used was an instrumental version of ‘B**** Mode’ by Baer. 



LBB> Since release, what has engagement been like? How many pieces of merch have sold, and as a whole, how have people reacted to this campaign? 


Rethink> Since the release, we’ve seen tons of engagement with the product. On top of a steady stream of sales on our microsite, ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets’ has picked up national press coverage from Daily Hive, MTL Blog, AdWeek, Complex, about a dozen local radio stations and, of course, from LBB. 



LBB> What challenges have you faced during this project? How did you overcome them? 


Rethink> Making a clothing line is no simple task - especially when you want to make something completely custom, high-quality, and work with an award-winning designer. That all being said, we still were able to bring the collection from conception to market in under six months. This was only possible with the help of our amazing vendors and partners. 


LBB> How does this campaign fit in with McCain’s brand strategy for the fall, and in the long-term?


McCain> ‘Breakfast Pockets Pockets’ is our first campaign where we are talking to teens specifically. All of our ‘Pockets’ products fit into their lifestyles seamlessly, so our focus for this year and beyond is to continue to develop a relationship with teens.



LBB> All proceeds raised from the selling of this streetwear will be given to the Grocery Foundation’s ‘Toonies for Tummies’ program. Tell us a bit more about this partnership! What does being involved in a program like this mean to you?


McCain> McCain is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate. Our partnership with the Grocery Foundation to benefit Toonies for Tummies and student nutrition programs is truly aligned with that commitment. We have also supported other initiatives from the Grocery Foundation for years, and are delighted to extend our support to Toonies for Tummies.



LBB> Have you tried using your pockets to keep a Breakfast Pocket warm? 


Rethink> Yes! Not only do they keep Breakfast Pockets hotter much longer, they look like fire too.


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Rethink, Wed, 30 Nov 2022 17:36:03 GMT