Refreshingly Real

CLIENT: Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI)

The Challenge

Canned foods and beverages play a pivotal role in the ever-growing quest for sustainability. However, concerns about can linings’ long-term health effects paired with a growing marketing push for “fresh” food sways some shoppers from purchasing more canned food. Canned foods are more accessible, affordable and equally as nutritious as other options at the grocery store, not to mention they reduce food waste. Additionally, the aluminum and steel in the containers are infinitely recyclable and the contents last much longer than most food from the grocery store. So, how was CMI going to share that information with people across the U.S.?  

The Results

Our Approach

The Refreshingly Real campaign, funded by The Can Manufacturers Institute, was established to encourage acceptance of canned foods and beverages by a normally food-critical, health-focused audience. 

Look East decided to take a unique approachIn order for primary grocery shoppers to feel empowered, they needed to feel like the hero of the family. A typical mom is very concerned about the nutrition and safety of her family. Instead of putting cans front and center of the campaign, Look East created an online community for moms to connect. The campaign also offers information about nutrition, sustainability and safetypaired with a bit of humorwhere mothers can feel good about the choices they are making for their family at the dinner table.  

The first step was to identify the target audience: Moms. But what kind of moms? CMI enlisted Look East to utilize their expertise in stakeholder mapping through digital ethnography. The process allowed Look East to break mothers into five archetypes, complete with buyer personas to correctly target the information through Refreshingly Real.  

Once the target audience was defined, Look East created a message blueprint that would provide the strategy for website development, influencer engagement and overall social strategy.  

After the messaging strategy was developed, Look East created the website as a place to house recipes, facts, FAQs and DIY ideas. 

The final component to this campaign was the influencer engagement and tour. Look East vetted influencers active in the lifestyle blogging sphere. Influencers had to identify with the “Wellness Mamas” archetype, defined by the digital ethnography. We identified influencers that were mothers that were removed from the ag industry, college educated, had an active and sizeable social following, critical of food health and safety, sometimes concerned about being a “bad mom,” open minded to all food production systems and mentions of attempting a healthier lifestyle through buzzwords like “local,” “fresh,” “organic.”  

Nine digital influencers spent three days in Indianapolis, Indiana, following tomatoes from the farm to the can and even beyond to the dinner table. The tour gave influencers an up-close look at farms and nearby canning facilities. Throughout the tour, influencers witnessed the sprawling fields of produce, met the farmers and watched produce be inspected for high quality standards. They learned about the growing and harvesting process, watched the tomatoes arrive at the canning facility to be prepped and canned and enjoyed gourmet meals from award-winning chefs that featured canned ingredients. 

No question was off limits during the tour and the influencers walked away with a greater appreciation of canned foods and relationships with industry experts to lean on when their followers have questions. 

The Results

In its first year, the Refreshingly Real community achieved the following:  

  • 135 new pieces of social content, tailored for each social media channel  
  • 4.3 million social impressions  
  • 32,701 social media engagements  

In addition to the campaign social and web accomplishments, the influencer farm-to-can tour experience had a total reach of 1.3 million and created 16 new canned food blog posts.  

Look East received a Gold Award for a Multi-Channel Integrated Campaign and “Best in Show,” the highest scoring award entry, for the Refreshingly Real campaign, presented by Social Media Club of Kansas City.    

The Multi-Channel Integrated Campaign Gold Award recognized the fresh approach by Refreshingly Real to speak directly to the target audience segmented as ”Wellness Mamas” using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The channels share beneficial content, recipes and experiences that showcase the advantages of canned food and beverages.   

  • Maryea, Happy Healthy Mama 
    “Many people have preconceived notions about canned food, myself included. Getting a chance to see up close the care and love that goes into the canned food process and learn about the nutrition of canned food really opened my eyes.”
  • Erika, Living Well Mom 
    “I used to think canned food was full of preservatives and I certainly wouldn’t have considered it fresh, especially compared with fresh produce. I also didn’t believe they were as nutritious as fresh produce. While I always kept some cans in my pantry, I used them reluctantly and almost felt guilty about it because they were so convenient. After all, doesn’t convenient mean unhealthy? But over the years I’ve learned that perception isn’t always reality. And my former perception of canned foods was wrong.” 
  • Aaronica, The Crunchy Mommy 
    “I love canned items. They offer a level of convenience that makes cooking for a family of 5 that dicing fresh foods just doesn’t. My favorites to buy canned are beans, tuna, and tomatoes so when I was invited to visit a tomato farm and canning facility I jumped at the opportunity.” 
  • Katya, Little Broken 
    “In summary, I discovered that canned foods are equally nutritious and are a great source of fruits and vegetables. They are safe and shelf-stable, and cans are environmentally friendly. In fact, steel food cans are 100% recyclable. Just like with anything else, simply reading the labels of canned goods is a good way to ensure that the ingredients are clean and that there are not additives.” 
  • Meghan, Clean Eats, Fast Feets 
    “The final thing I learned was you can make some pretty fabulous food from canned goods. I’ve always thought of them as easy (hello built in Sous-chef), but now I’ll think of them as elegant as well.” 
  • Kathy, A Mom’s Impression 
    “Canned food is nutritious, convenient and affordable. Using canned food helps us waste less food while being environmentally friendly. There are so many benefits to eating canned food, and busy parents like ourselves should take advantage of it.” 
  • Emily, Busy Mommy 
    “Most consumers don’t realize that not only is canned food nutritious, but it is environmentally-friendly and helps curb food waste. Fruit and vegetables are harvested and canned within hours, which minimizes the impact on the environment. Aluminum and steel cans are actually 100% recyclable and 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today!” 
  • Nancy, The Bitter Side of Sweet 
    “As of March of this year 90% of canned foods were BPA free! I will have to tell you that before I went on this trip I didn’t know anything about BPA. After reading up on it I understand the concern. I really only thought that we had to worry about BPA in plastics and didn’t realize it was an issue in the cans that are made for canned foods. After talking with representatives from Can Manufacturers Institute this seems to be a high priority for them and are constantly working on making a better, safer can lining!” 

This campaign was developed in partnership with Native Digital.   

To read more about the full CMI campaign, click here.