Behind the scenes of Canada’s best advertising campaigns of 2013: MiO

CAMPAIGN: MiO 
CLIENT: KRAFT CANADA 
AGENCY: TAXI 2
CAMPAIGN PERIOD: MARCH 2012-JULY 2013 
2014 CASSIES AWARD WINNER: GOLD AWARD FOR BEST LAUNCH AND PACKAGED GOODS – BEVERAGE 

THE CLIENT 

For Kraft, the challenge wasn’t just launching a new brand. It was leveraging that brand to revitalize powdered soft drinks, a category that had been in decline for five straight years. A further twist was that MiO wasn’t a powder at all, but rather a concentrated liquid water enhancer available in many flavours. 

“We knew that subtle changes were not enough to reinvent the category.”
Kristi Murl
is director of marketing, Kraft
“It exemplified a perfect balance between entertainment and information.”
Tony Matta
is CMO of Kraft

“We knew that subtle changes were not enough to reinvent the category,” says Kraft director of marketing Kristi Murl.

More problematically, Kraft did not want to “cannibalize” existing users. “A lot of consumers – predominantly women – were already buying Kraft, and we didn’t want to plunder our own market. We wanted new users, which we identified as millennial males between 18 and 34.”

Although Kraft had successfully launched MiO in the United States, the company recognized the value of taking a different approach north of the border and wanted a Canadian-specific campaign.

That’s when Kraft looked to TAXI 2. “They were the perfect partner,” says Ms. Murl. “They understood we needed a completely different approach than Kraft buyers were used to.”

The result was a series of engag- ing, tongue-in-cheek spots. A YouTube video generated a million views in 12 days - 99 per cent of them Canadian, and more importantly, 92 per cent of them millennial males. One interactive spot encouraged viewers to find seven embedded secret videos. Viewers loved it – and quickly shared the link with friends.

“It exemplified the perfect balance between entertainment and information,” says Kraft CMO Tony Matta. “TAXI 2 came at the project with the right blend of collaboration and backbone. They listen to your point of view and build on it, but they also stand up for their ideas and challenge the client – this tension is where great work comes from.”

Mr. Matta says the successful campaign will help consumers identify Kraft as having “the spirit of a start-up and the soul of a powerhouse.”

“The MiO campaign paves the way not just for the introduction of new products, but for tried and true brands that Canadians have used and loved for generations,” he says. 

THE AGENCY

Jeff MacEachern, creative director for TAXI 2, says there’s something fundamental you have to understand about millennial males. “They’re into change. They’re constantly looking for the next cool thing, so with MiO we ran with that, amplifying the notion of change by presenting the product as not just having functional benefits, but as something that changes your boring water into something more exciting.”

Mr. MacEachern and his team used humour as the basis for the campaign, partly because it was a different approach from the way competi- tors, especially on the sports drink side, were marketing their products, and partly because nobody appreciates offbeat humour like millennial males.

“When it comes to sports drinks, we know not every guy in our audience is going to be the next Sidney Crosby. He’s a guy who loves to play sports and do well for the fun of it, so we decided to play with the lighter side of sports,” Mr. MacEachern says. 

“[Kraft] told us they wanted people to be surprised that MiO is a Kraft product, and people are. They’re surprised it isn’t from some cheeky start-up.”
Jeff MacEachern
is creative director for TAXI 2

Working with Kraft was a real pleasure, he adds. “It’s a great partnership because they’re eager to do great work. They see the value of good creative work and the way it drives results. And they were willing to do things differently. They told us they wanted people

to be surprised that MiO is a Kraft product, and people are. They’re surprised it isn’t from some cheeky start-up.”

TAXI chief creative officer Frazer Jelleyman adds that one of the reasons for the cam- paign’s remarkable success is that both client and agency had the same agenda. “You ap- proach it as if you were going on a journey together,” he says.

He demurs at suggestions that the campaign was “edgy or brave.” Rather, he says, it was simply the right work for the right client, and the evidence for this is partly demonstrated by the campaign’s success at the CASSIES, where it won two gold awards.

“It’s proof that the client put their faith in the right thing,” he says. 

THE COLLABORATIVE RESULT 

In its campaign to launch MiO in Canada, Kraft and TAXI 2 targeted the millennial male – a de- mographic traditionally tied to soft drinks and energy drinks. The agency’s humorous, engaging and interactive TV and digital strategy celebrated the consumer’s ability to use MiO to control the colour and flavour of water. And the provocative tagline – “squirt some” – resonated with the target audience while educating them on how to use the product. 

In its campaign to launch MiO in Canada, Kraft and TAXI 2 targeted the millennial male – a de- mographic traditionally tied to soft drinks and energy drinks. The agency’s humorous, engaging and interactive TV and digital strategy celebrated the consumer’s ability to use MiO to control the colour and flavour of water. And the provocative tagline – “squirt some” – resonated with the target audience while educating them on how to use the product. 

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