Helping MasterFoods ground their brand ambition in authentic customer truth

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ethnographic films lead to award finalist online campaign


Your work was a real tipping point in helping us both frame the challenge and also ensure we were both inclusive and sensitive to the issues in developing a response.
— Kit Lansdell Planning Director at Clemenger

MasterFoods had a big long-term ambition to help create a better Australia through improving their enjoyment of food. Clemenger BBDO Sydney wanted to look beyond 'foody blogger' and 'fresh food people' attitudes and understand the relationship that all kinds of Australians have with food, especially people with challenges around access, time, money and skill. 

We visited all kinds of people in all kinds of situations; an elderly single man just after his wife had passed, a young midwife living in staff quarters, a big three generation family all living under one roof, a single mother living with two primary school age kids in a housing development in west Sydney, and a refugee family with high school aged girls.

Our ethnographic research explored their relationship and involvement with food, not just consumption, but the bigger picture, of budgeting, thinking or not thinking around food, preparation, pain points, fears and barriers towards enjoying good food. Our ethnographic films showcased their stories, creating deep understanding and empathy for both MasterFoods and Clemenger BBDO.

Our analysis revealed the complex situational, psychological and cultural barriers to enjoying good food. It highlighted the multiple demands on participants' time that compete with food preparation time and serve to diminish the enjoyment of serving meals. It explored the multiple distractions at mealtimes that take focus away from the occasion. It also uncovered a universal positive among participants: the experience of time spent with family and friends at meal time. 

In the words of our senior participant living alone: "I just feel like I don't want to bother...There's nothing I would say, gee I'd love to be eating that. The only time I get enjoyment at all really, is when my son says let's go up to the RSL, not so much for the food but for the little bit of getting together".

And our single nurse living in staff quarters: "It's full time shift work you're constantly on the go so at the end of the day your motivation and care factor of eating healthy is a big fat zero. At home we all sit together and have a meal so its something you can enjoy together... After a long day once I've cooked for myself, it's nice to be able to sit with someone than the alternative of sitting on your own, not even necessarily engage in a whole conversation but just have their company".

And the grandmother who cooks for a three generations: "It's hard work when they don't all like the same thing, so I cook something they all like, simple things, I can't be bothered... but we'll always sit down together, it's time together".

Armed with an understanding of peoples' experience around food and a recognition of the positive meanings they share, Clemenger BBDO and MasterFoods went on to develop the highly successful online campaign #makedinnertimematter.

In 12 weeks, the film generated over 108 million views and was shared over 1.4 million times. The campaign was a finalist at - Cannes: Finalist x 2 - Spikes: Finalist - ADMA AC&E: Finalist x 4 - New York Festival: Finalist - Facebook Awards: Finalist. 

A big thank you for your input into the project – we’ve shared the film and insights with so many people along the way and its really helped the client and agencies developing the campaign to deeply understand the barriers.
— Emily Taylor - Account Director at Clemenger