Relaunching Jarlsberg Cheese for a New Generation of Foodies
A staple on cheese plates around the world, Jarlsberg was faced with an aging consumer whose fond moments and traditions associated with the specialty cheese category were fading, and the brand simply wasn’t translating to younger generations. They needed help re-positioning to be more relevant for today’s Millennial consumer; to tell deeper, more emotional, more relatable stories; to be reinvigorated without relying on cheesy puns.
Despite dominant nationwide distribution, Jarlsberg consumers were nearly the same age as the brand itself, with 31% over the age of 50, and purchases were dwindling. To make things more challenging, it’d been three years since active media and a targeted marketing strategy had been in market, so consumer awareness and affinity were shrinking by the day. If a change wasn’t made quickly, that distribution advantage would soon disappear.
Through immersive consumer research, our team was able to uncover powerful insight into buying habits and emotional triggers that enabled us to target an older millennial audience and develop a connected experience that would give Jarlsberg a seat at their table. What began as a campaign in a key market in 2018 to validate our hypothesis turned into a three-year campaign that spanned a variety of pop-up events, activations, and cross-channel media funnels that drove significant returns for the business.
Launched in early 2018, Jarlsberg’s biggest multifaceted advertising campaign in over a decade rolled out based on the belief that where there is cheese, there are friends and family, and where there are friends and family, there are wonderfully memorable moments. After all, cheese isn’t just functional, it’s emotional! The campaign, targeted at both Millennials and Baby Boomers, highlighted the powerful memories people build with and around Jarlsberg as the specialty cheese that’s for more than just special occasions. From quick & delicious recipes served for loved ones to just hanging out in the kitchen with some cheese and a glass of wine, one thing is certain...Life’s Best Served with Jarlsberg.
The campaign direction focused in on the moment, the atmosphere, the feeling you have and share when enjoying a bit of Jarlsberg cheese. This was done by giving the photography a consistent warm tone throughout, along with creating a social-stream-style layout on a campaign digital experience, which reflected our everyday lives.
A new promotional digital experience was created to serve as the heart of the campaign where shoppers could find coupons and inspiring recipes, while enabling them to create memorable moments by pairing cheese with beer and wine, or making the perfect cheeseboard. The user experience (UX) was designed to encourage a discovery mindset. It was less structured and encouraged visitors to casually explore and click on whatever caught their eye. And, with new recipes and ideas posted weekly, it became a place consumers could visit often to explore and discover. Traffic was driven and supported by campaign media that touched all points of the consumer journey, on and offline.
With a totally new audience as the focus of this campaign, achieving brand awareness and product education across the older millennial audience was just as important as seeing an increase in store sales. For this reason, the media plan had a comprehensive list of tactics ranging from top-funnel brand awareness plays to in-store mobile ads, hitting our target consumer as they were physically shopping in store. With different KPIs per tactic (impressions, CTR, reach, frequency, coupon downloads, etc), we were able to truly show the holistic effects of our media performance and actually measure not only in-store sales but new brand loyalists and new people exposed to the brand for the first time.
Knowing that our target audience of older millennials had an affinity for hosting parties, cooking, and finding recipes online, we knew sponsored content would be the key to inserting Jarlsberg onto sites where our older millennials are already absorbing relevant content. With sponsored article takeovers, complete with branded banner ads, custom CTAs, and Jarlsberg photography, these native ads not only resulted in thousands of clicks to the campaign landing page experience but also gave us valuable insight as to what topics and headlines resonated most with our new audience. (Spoiler alert: Friday is the new night for cooking at home and Sunday is all about the brunch! No more breakfast in bed for these millennials.)
83% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer over any form of advertising, even if they don’t know the person directly. Cue the Influencers! In order to boost Jarlsberg’s authenticity and show our target audience that this cheese isn’t just for holidays and Grandma, we sourced and engaged a hand-picked group of micro-influencers to help us with the initial activation campaign. These influencers promoted Jarlsberg on their blog and social with mouthwatering recipe ideas that showcased our cheese. From a colorful, spring cheese plate to decadent French onion buns, these influencer posts reached over a million users in our target market and had one of our best engagement rates, making this tactic (and our influencer’s recipes) one of the most memorable moments of the year.
What better time to promote the Jarlsberg wedge to our target consumers than when they are physically in the store, shopping for related products! Using first-party app data and precise, in-store GPS tracking, we were able to track the moment our target audience entered a grocery store that sells Jarlsberg cheese and serve them with a mobile alert (recipe idea, location information, generic branded ad). With a CTR of over 5%, this tactic not only attributed to sales but also gave us some interesting insight to what stores were actually driving those sales. The data from this helped to elevate the Jarlsberg team’s insights into retail purchase behavior, as they were surprised to discover which stores were actually driving sales, opposed to what had previously been believed. Based on the media campaign, changes in distribution have been inspired, along with a corporate re-focusing for the sales team.
A full-blown marketing and advertising campaign isn’t complete without an experiential component that truly engages consumers. But with Jarlsberg – a historic brand familiar to cultures all over the world – it didn’t make sense to do a simple activation. We knew we had to do something big, so we looked to Times Square as location ripe for driving a high volume of awareness.
In an innovative combination of digital and physical experiences, we used digital billboards and elegant, eye-catching print handouts to drive people to the Oceana restaurant for a Jarlsberg cheese and wine tasting. But by leveraging the power of data, we had the opportunity to take this one step further. If a person signed up for the cheese tasting via a third-party app, a cordial invitation, addressing them by name, would appear on the Times Square billboards – successfully creating one-to-one, personal interactions and authentic, selfie-filled social sharing in one of the most visited places on earth.
Let’s launch your next brand campaign together.