Powered by Bacon
By Carrie Cummings on Oct 17, 2014
The bacon renaissance is upon us. So it’s only natural that bacon-maker extraordinaire Hormel would create a low-key, grassroots campaign solidifying bacon’s place in the American zeitgeist.
“Driven By Bacon,” created by BBDO Minneapolis for Hormel Black Label Bacon, is the brand’s entrée into the hearts of the elite bacon aficionados.
The campaign was executed on a shoestring budget, and began with a cross-country road trip starring a man and his motorcycle. Seems pretty average, right? Throw in the facts that the motorcycle was powered by bacon grease and the voyage was filmed, and you’ve got a compelling story to showcase.
“Driven by Bacon is a concept that reveals that the journey is more important than the destination,” says Noel Haan, Executive Creative Director, BBDO Minneapolis.
“It’s never been done before,” says Haan, “it was inventive and we really didn’t know if it would work or not.”
The online and experiential campaign amassed a wide following.
In the film, biker Eric Pearson, in a voiceover while he prepares to ride the bacon grease-fueled hog, explains that he’s embarking on this cross country-voyage because he wants to know what drives people.
His trip starts in Austin, Minnesota, home of Hormel, and ends in California at the 2nd Annual International Bacon Film Festival (yes, it exists). Along the way, he visits and pays homage to Americana—Elvis’ motorcycle, Sturgis, Rodeos, Reno and others—and discovers, as he puts it, “so much joy comes from the journey, the never-ending search.” As the film ends, Pearson’s final words ask “what drives you?”
It appears that bacon was driving more than the motorcycle. “In just one month,” says Nick Schweitzer, Product Manager, Hormel Black Label Bacon, “our traffic for the campaign tumblr page exceeded total traffic to the entire Hormel.com site, which has a large habitual following.”
What does a motorcycle have to do with bacon? As it turns out, everything. It’s all about passion.
“The degree of passion and appreciation for craft, and individuality, that is shared between the motorcycle community inspired us,” says Schweitzer.
Most importantly, the campaign had to be firmly rooted in authenticity and craftsmanship if Hormel wanted to appeal to the discerning motorcycle fan as well as bacon lover.
“As we developed this program we wanted to be sure we were true to our brand standards of quality and craftsmanship,” says Schweitzer, “So with every detail from the custom motorcycle seat, to testing mechanics to ensure the bike performed we wanted to produce something authentic that would be accepted by this community.”
Hormel and BBDO Minneapolis have worked together for years, creating a deep trust between client and agency. When BBDO approached Hormel with this innovative campaign idea taken from a relatively straightforward brief, they were given the green light for creativity.
“I find it refreshing for a brand to let consumers join a ride without a destination,” says Haan, “It’s freeing.”
The results came in quickly and so far the site has received over 32 million impressions and over 672,000 social media engagements. But the most important part for Hormel is the passion.
“We set out to advance bacon culture and showcase the passion people have for this wonderful product,” says Schweitzer, “and this program has clearly demonstrated an ability to bring attention and excitement to our cause.”
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