It isn’t often that a sodium reduced product gets attention, but this initiative from Unilever’s Knorr Sidekicks manages to take a humdrum food item and give it a cute emotional twist that makes even the most cynical viewer smile. Introduced in late August with an integrated marketing communications program that uses magazine ads, TV spots, and a microsite, consumers are introduced to SALTY in a TV spot that drives the campaign. In an effort to meet consumers’ demand for healthier food choices, Knorr Sidekicks have introduced low sodium versions of over 20 items in their Sidekicks’ line, essentially replacing them with a lower salt version of the original. Now items such as rice with Cheddar and Broccoli, Scalloped Potatoes, and Butter & Herb Pasta come with 25% less sodium.
The TV ad, SALTY, uses animation and live action, centered over a sound track of Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” to engage the viewer in the spot. Alone, many may tout these elements as ordinary, soppy, or even annoying, but they manage to cleverly work together in this spot, making one hope that the animated character SALTY, may surface in another spot for the product ... maybe even become an emblem for other Knorr salt-reduced products.
Initially, Unilever were undecided as to whether SALTY would become a mascot, inevitably waiting to see how this little soul fares in the world of commercial clutter and consumer feedback! I’m rooting for SALTY, a visual hybrid of sorts between a Fisher-Price/Play Mobile/Charlie Brown type figure, (definite Mom appeal here), complete with cliché story-book emotions that see him dejectedly crying in the rain, taking shelter near abandoned beer bottles in lonely back alleys – yes, definitely reading too much into the ad, but rather hoping that SALTY comes back – who knows where the story might lead? And to think that we are talking about a salt shaker! Clearly, the character is able, in a few short seconds, to create emotional links between the brand and the viewer.
The microsite at http://www.sidekicks.ca/default.aspx, is fully integrated into the campaign, showing SALTY in the opening screen and humourously using a short slide-show of snap shots to take one down SALTY’S memory lane. In addition, the microsite provides recipes, dinner planners, time savers, tips on healthier eating, and product information. It also allows consumers to sign up for monthly newsletters which provide recipes and tips, thus providing the Knorr Sidekicks’ brand with a database of consumers to which they can market directly.
Below you can see the SALTY commercial for Knorr Sidekicks and the making of the SALTY ad which cleverly demonstrates the intricacies that go into a spot that intertwines animation with live action footage. SALTY'S character development, design, and digital modeling was crafted by Bigshot Toyworks, the animation created by Sons & Daughters, and the spot directed by David Hicks for ad agency DDB Canada.
“Salty” for Sidekicks
The Making of “Salty” for Knorr Sidekicks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8CUrnRBOmY