Here is What Happened in Food Advertising This Quarter

The first quarter of 2019 saw some great breakthrough creative food advertising and marketing efforts from food brands including The Wonderful Company, Devour Frozen Foods, Hidden Valley Ranch and more.

Nowadays, of course, high concept campaigns like these are almost always centered around, or at least include, a social and digital component. Every brand hopes to win the viral lottery and have their messaging transcend the norm to become shared with millions, without the cost of a large media buy. Here are a few creative food advertising moments that succeeded enviably in both the social/digital and traditional realms.

The Fiji Water Girl

Figi Water Girl at Golden Globes Food Marketing

Source: Fortune Magazine, How The Fiji Water Girl Won the Golden Globes

A star was born at the Golden Globes. It was Fiji Water, whose product placement on the red carpet led to one of the quarter’s most-talked about events. Model Kellen Cuthbert’s stellar photobombing ability while holding a tray of the bottled waters earned her the hashtag “#Fiji Water Girl,” and earned Fiji Water an epic 98.9 million impressions on Twitter, becoming an overnight social sensation. It was the type of genuine, organic viral moment that brands dream about, and Fiji Water was quick to jump on it, positioning themselves as ironic and hip in dozens of tweets, memes, news articles and talk shows to follow.

The “Pizza Intern”

Another viral star from first quarter is a young man who tried to slip away from Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony to grab a bite, only to be seen by millions on national TV scarfing down pizza in the background of the live coverage. His hilarious “deer caught in headlights” look of realization quickly led to twitter hashtags of “#Pizza Intern” and “#Hallway Pizza” and became a became a huge marketing opportunity for the Washington, D.C.-based restaurant chain “&pizza.” Thanks to their distinctive pizza boxes, &pizza was easily identifiable as the pizza in question, and their marketing team was nimble enough to quickly take ownership of the viral moment on Instagram and Twitter, and even introduced a new “Hallway Pizza” recipe to their menu.

Kudos to both &pizza and Fiji Water for responding to their unexpected social blowups with the immediacy required to take full advantage.

Devour “Food Porn”

Devour frozen foods’ satirical new ads feature a couple dealing with the husband’s heartbreaking addiction to “food porn” and the strain it puts on their relationship. There’s lots of steamy Devour meal action including luscious cheese pulls, saucy pastas and hot graphic forking. Devour even created a working food porn hotline to accompany the campaign, complete with seductive descriptions of their mouthwatering frozen meals. The idea for the spots came from the myriad of #foodporn tags found on Instagram that accompany videos of mouthwatering recipes. It’s a fun and edgy way to appeal to its mostly young and hungry male demographic.

Hidden Valley Ranch “You either love it, or you really love it”

Humorous new 15-second ads for Hidden Valley Ranch depict the extreme love consumers have for their dressings and dips. In one of the ads directed by Scrubs star Zach Braff, a woman at airport security is told the bottle she’s attempting to carry on is more than three ounces. Solution? Chug it down! Though maybe not the most appetizing way to advertise their products, it certainly evokes a reaction, and it does a good job of paying off the tagline: “You either love it, or you really love it.”

Veg Power “Snack Healthy”

Remember the cult film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Well, they’ve returned, and this time they’ve brought backup. In a new campaign from Veg Power, a program funded by a British coalition of supermarkets to help fight the rise in obesity and related illness across the UK, an epic 60-second spot mimics a dramatic horror film trailer. In it, an angry army of brussels sprouts, beets, cauliflower and other produce unites in an attempt to achieve global domination. But kids can help stop them, if they’ll just “Eat Them to Defeat Them.” It’s an empowering message for children, making it fun for them to eat healthier.

Cadbury “Easter Eggs”

Cadbury Egg Hunt Food Advertising

Much like the Eveready Bunny, Cadbury Crème Eggs are turning up in dozens of ads for other brands. The difference is, this time the brands are real. Leading up to Easter, Cadbury is hiding its famous chocolate eggs in fads for products like Oreo and Heinz. People who spot the eggs and upload an image of them on can win a voucher for a free Cadbury Crème Egg or even a $13,000 cash prize if they find a rare and special white egg. It’s a quite literal “Easter Egg” device, making this a fun and meta crossover promotion.

For more creative food advertising moments, please visit our food blog for Kirk’s quarterly updates.

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Kirk Evans VP/Associate Creative Director EvansHardy+Young
Kirk Evans, VP/Assoc Creative Director

Kirk held senior creative positions at McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy in Los Angeles before joining EvansHardy+Young over 20 years ago. He has produced award winning work for multiple EHY Clients including Idaho Potatoes, California Walnuts and several restaurant chains. Previous clients included American Express, Coca-Cola, Columbia Pictures and Post Cereals. Despite being born and bred in New Jersey, Kirk is an enthusiastic surfer.