Campaign Cuisine, Irreverently

August 1, 2004
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Campaign Cuisine, Irreverently

Political satire on creative, short-run labels transforms cans of beans into impulse buys by poking fun at the race for president.
Vietti Foods Co. has found an irreverent way to build incremental sales for its baked beans and chili beans while also raising money for diabetes research. Packages on two varieties of beans ooze political satire in poking light-hearted fun at the 2004 presidential campaign.
Nashville-based Vietti Foods does that buy leveraging election-themed labels. One label bears an illustration of a donkey on cans of Liberal Democrat Boston Baked Beans. The other carries an illustration of an elephant on packages of Conservative Republication Texas Chili Beans.
The company is rolling out a limited run of these provocative labels. It wants to leverage what may be the year’s hottest ongoing domestic news story—the presidential election.
 The colorful illustrations make the labels collectible items. They also draw attention away from the glut of canned-bean packaging.
Paul Scoonover is President at Asen Marketing, Knoxville, a full-service marketing and advertising agency that created the labels. He observes that this packaging tactic creates an “in-and-out, event-based sales promotion as a flanking move to penetrate markets.”
Vietti Foods has been in business since 1898. It still operates as a small, regional brand.
The ‘feisty’ side of life
Phil Connelly, Vietti Foods President, lays out the marketing objective behind the satirical labels this way: He expects the campaign will call attention to the company’s “feistiness” against larger national competitors. That, in turn, raises awareness for the brand.
Second, he says, the collectible labels will elevate Vietti Foods’ stature as an innovative marketer. They may also “open doors” for the company to market 16 new products it has launched over the past 18 months.
From a notoriety standpoint, Vietti Foods decided to make the illustrations dominant on the front panel of the labels. The company decided that front-panel branding of the Vietti name is less critical.
Identifying the hook
Connelly explains: “We didn’t think the hook was necessarily Vietti Foods. We thought the national parties would be the hook for consumer interest.” Playful text also draws consumers into the label and prompts voting.
Labels on cans of Liberal Democrat Boston Baked Beans say: “Let’s make sure no Kerry-bashing, fur-wearing, gun-toting, oil-drilling, SUV-driving, Limbaugh-listening conservative Republican, capitalist pig gets elected…”
On cans of Conservative Republican Texas Chili Beans, the copy states: “Let’s make sure no Bush-bashing, tofu-eating, tree-hugging, government-loving, animal-activist, bleeding-heart, left-wing socialist gets elected…”
Connelly adds that “Once the labels draw their interest to our cans, they naturally turn them to the right, where they will see our logo.” Vietti Foods is rolling out distribution in Tennessee. Special-run packages also can be purchased at www.viettifoods.com.
Some of the profits are going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The JDRF logo appears on the label’s right side below the logo for Vietti Foods. BP

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