Incogmeato, Kellogg’s line of plant-based protein, is extending a campaign to challenge skeptics to try its alternative meats. Phase one of the “Afraid you might like it?” effort kicked off in early August targeting flexitarians — those that are primarily vegetarian, but occasionally eat meat or fish — to overcome their fears that vegan burgers, bratwursts and nuggets won’t taste good.
The MorningStar Farms brand takes the campaign to social media by teaming with animal influencers @Prissy_Pig, @SammiChicken and @BuckleyTheHighlandCow. (The three total more than 800,000 Instagram followers.) These partners’ social accounts today will begin mirroring the Incogmeato logo’s look of a monocle, mustache and bowler hat to show their support for “a meat brand they can finally get behind,” said Sara Young, Kellogg’s general manager of plant-based proteins. Exclusive content will additionally feature the San Francisco 49ers, giving fans a peek into player life and their experiences in trying Incogmeato.
Incogmeato last week hosted a national Twitter giveaway and Postmates deal in Dallas and Denver to deliver samples of its new ground product to people’s doors. Consumers in the cities on Aug. 27 could order bite-sized samples through Postmates’ iOS or Android apps. Those who redeemed also got a coupon for Incogmeato burger patties at retailers including Walmart, Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons.
Plant-based meat isn’t new, but the category has seen an uptick in recent years as consumers look to healthier protein alternatives. Still, 60% of Americans want to try plant-based proteins but are skeptical of the taste, according to a Kellogg study by The Cambridge Group.
This month, 45-year-old MorningStar Farms is tapping a phased strategy to drive awareness and challenge consumers to take the leap. Its first marketing campaign launched in early August on traditional mass-reach vehicles like TV and digital video, communicating a challenger mindset to express how meat alternatives can “look, cook and taste” like the real thing.
Incogmeato’s campaign takes a lighthearted, good-natured approach to playfully goad skeptics into trying its new alternative meats. The first phase of the effort associated the brand with summer barbecue meals, and now, it’s extending the messaging into the fall season as people think about back-to-school and cooking colder-weather meals like chili and spaghetti, according to Young.
The brand is stretching into nontraditional marketing channels like sampling integrations and influencer tie-ins as parent company Kellogg invests heavily in MorningStar Farms and marketing. Kellogg announced last week a $43 million expansion to MorningStar Farms’ Ohio plant, amid a significant acceleration in marketing in the second half of 2020, CEO Steven Cahillane said on a July 30 call with investors.
This new phase of “Afraid you might like it?” extends the brand’s name, packaging and cheeky messaging, and arrives around Labor Day, when consumers will see a ramp-up in national distribution of Incogmeato’s full product line.
“We think about new phases as ways to continue to drive top-of-mind awareness and overcome the trial barrier of taste,” Young said.
Incogmeato’s phased strategy could spark brand chatter on social and compel skeptics to sample the vegan meat, while the new “spokesanimals” play into the influencer marketing trend and help to put a face to the brand, potentially making Incogmeato more relatable for people who may be hesitant. The Postmates deal was a clever pandemic pivot to share product samples via delivery instead of the traditional in-store venue. That partnership to reach residents of Denver and Dallas illustrates how brands including Incogmeato — and their deep-pocketed parent companies like Kellogg — can adjust to new consumer habits during the coronavirus health crisis.