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How Oh Henry! Induced a Canadian ‘Feeding Frenzy’


The teams from FCB Canada and snack brand Oh Henry! on reimagining shopper marketing, fitting a puppeteer into surprising spaces, and dramatising the inevitability of hunger, writes LBB’s Josh Neufeldt

How Oh Henry! Induced a Canadian ‘Feeding Frenzy’

Throughout May, Canadians who signed up with convenience stores Circle K and Couche Tard would receive random, spontaneous text messages, informing them that a ‘Feeding Frenzy’ had started. What did this mean? Well, upon receiving the notification, participants would be given an hour-long window to rush to the nearest location and purchase an Oh Henry! product - all for a chance to win $1,000. 

Created in partnership with FCB Canada, and Inspired by ‘HQ Trivia’, a spontaneous online trivia game that encouraged millions of people around the world to drop whatever they were doing in order to participate - all at the same time - ‘Feeding Frenzy’ represented the brand’s attempt to tap into the collective experience by moving away from the current trend of solitary shopping. Moreover, to breathe new life into the classic sweepstakes scenario, Oh Henry! was able to extend its recent integrated campaign, ‘Hunger Happens’, which served as a comedic way to remind Canadians of both the spontaneity and inevitability of hunger. 

LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with the team from Oh Henry!, as well as the team from FCB Canada, including VP, strategy Shelagh Hartford, GCD Troy McGuinness, ACDs Caleb McMullen and Hussein Rumaithi, and account director Rose Noble to explore how this all fit together, and, as a whole, how ‘Feeding Frenzy’ and ‘Hunger Happens’ came to life.

LBB> Logistically, how did you make this happen, and what made this the right way to extend the ‘Hunger Happens’ campaign?

OH> ‘Feeding Frenzy’ helps bring a spontaneous nature to the insight that hunger is inevitable and spontaneous. Executing this was indeed a complex process, which involved understanding the tech infrastructure available to us. We couldn’t have done it without FCB, or Circle K and its own agency’s support.

FCB> When we were briefed on a shopper marketing component to the campaign, we asked ourselves ‘How can we position spontaneity as the focus for a sweepstakes program, while at the same time, drive our audience in-store to engage?’. This program is live at all Circle K and Couche Tard locations across Canada.

LBB> This campaign seeks to change the solitary nature of the shopper marketing programme. Why was this an important thing to do, and what are the benefits of this decision?

OH> What we’ve seen over the past year is that Canadians are reigning in their spending. They’re making less visits to the store, and when they do, they’re being less impulsive with what they’re spending money on. The ‘Feeding Frenzy’ is a completely reimagined shopper marketing program that drives Canadians in-store to participate, creating new audience incentives and paths to purchase.

LBB> Both accompanying spots are quite fun! What was the writing process like, and how did you come to settle on the new ‘Hungry Happens’ catchphrase?

FCB> For us, the clearest way to dramatise the insight that ‘hunger is inevitable’ was to lean into the concept of time with the repetition of the word ‘Now?’. Even in a 15-second spot, doing this allowed us to quickly tell the story of a date night where hunger could strike at any moment. Of course, having an eager to feed puppet mascot helped bring Oh Henry!’s brand promise to life.

LBB> And what did it take to bring the mascot to life - in both the ‘Feeding Frenzy’ promo and spot?

FCB> The campaign completely reimagined the role of Henry, the puppet mascot. In a narrative about hunger being inevitable, Henry became the eager-to-a-fault, waterboy-type character on your team who knows that at any moment, you might be ‘hungry now’... And when you are, he’ll be there, Oh Henry! bar in hand.

LBB> As a whole, how was the production process? Do you have any anecdotes from on set?

FCB> Finding surprising places for Henry to appear was a challenge we took a lot of joy in solving for. ‘Maybe he’s inside a claw machine’, was a very easy thing to say, which resulted in our puppeteer being crammed into a tiny wooden box. Fortunately, we had ourselves a very flexible and patient puppeteer!

LBB> Seeing as we’re almost at the end of May, how have the ‘Feeding Frenzies’ gone thus far? 

OH> It is early days for our campaign, but the response has been positive. What we’ve seen so far is a willingness from our audience to try something new and participate in a contest driven by spontaneity. People are engaging with our brand in a way that is completely unique and memorable, resulting in repeat participation from one ‘Feeding Frenzy’ to the next.

LBB> What lessons have you learned from the making of this campaign?

FCB> What we’ve learned is that there are always new ways to explore old concepts. Sweepstakes are nothing new, but how you engage and surprise your audience with a unique take on a classic program or narrative can help your brand breakthrough and stand out. There's always a creative opportunity in making the familiar unfamiliar!

OH> For us, creating a ‘Feeding Frenzy’ was an entirely new way of approaching shopper marketing. It taught us a lot about the benefits of gamifying an experience.

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FCB Toronto, Wed, 31 May 2023 15:32:40 GMT