Thursday, November 5, 2009

Robin Hood Flour Creates Baking Experiences for the 21st century

Robin Hood flour is one of those iconic Canadian brands associated with caring family traditions and old fashioned goodness. Picture a scene of a young child baking with its mother, smiles all around, and there you have it, the Robin Hood flour brand and all that it represents, even 100 years after it first hatched on the Canadian Landscape in 1909 in Saskatchewan. The Robin Hood flour brand of the 21st century has managed to capture its heritage and old-fashioned goodness by creating contemporary baking experiences that help people bake with ease and confidence. They have crafted a website at http://www.robinhood.ca/ that would be splattered with batter from frequent use if it was hard-cover, and its most recent venture lies in the creation of pop-up stores, BAKE BATTER & ROLL, that help create baking experiences for the 21st century consumer. Visitors to these stores can decorate cookies and cupcakes to their hearts’ desire, bake the goodies at the Toronto location, and call on helpful assistants who may be needed to help create that memorable baking experience.

Robin Hood flour has its origins in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan where its flour mill dotted the Prairie landscape and from where many of its first employees originated. There it created that top quality flour which is recognized by Canadians by its deep rich yellow bag with the Robin Hood archer, and remembered  for helping to create traditional baking experiences. Until recent decades, Robin Hood employees that could trace their careers back to those Prairie origins were fondly referred to by others as the Moose Jaw Mafia, a tight knit group of loyal people who helped nurture this iconic Canadian brand into what it is today. Not long ago, those long serving Robin Hood employees could nostalgically recollect the times during the war when residents of Atlantic Canada would collect the white Robin Hood woven flour bags, sold in the province at that time, to make curtains during hard times. Today the familiar rich yellow, bag stamped with the Robin Hood archer, still represents that top quality flour you can trust, but it also stands for a brand that understands how it can help create baking experiences that resonate with the 21st century consumer who multi-tasks and may not have the luxury of time to bake.

So how does a brand maintain its high quality standing in a market that has become increasingly commoditized and marginalized? No easy task, particularly when the category is low profile and not growing in relevancy. Despite the challenges, Robin Hood Flour today continues to remind us that it is the King of Flours and relevant to 21st century consumers. In the past few years with the help of Ogilvy & Mather, Robin Hood flour has managed to create advertisements, websites, direct mail pieces, and targeted retail programs that  break through the clutter of invisible communications with memorable messages that resonate.

Their website at http://www.robinhood.ca/ is a delightful example, a destination where bakers become immersed in an abundance of recipes and everything “baking”. The revamped website is a very welcome addition to this brand whose first foray into a companion brand website was a short step away from very little. Today, recognizing the needs of 21st century consumers, Robin Hood flour has created a website that uses social media to connect with consumers and does not shy away from using video to make their recipes even easier to use. Consumers can join the site to swap recipes, vote on polls, join a forum, rate the recipes, add comments to the recipes, and save them to a personal recipe box.  Time sensitive promotions and featured videos give the site a fresh feel which results in a website that encourages visitors to surf, sign-up and indulge in recipes and treats that can be found just beneath the surface.

Robin Hood flour’s latest venture that helps create baking experiences for the 21st century consumer is found in the form of pop-up stores, BAKE, BATTER & ROLL, mini-bakeshops set up for a short period of time, scattered around Canada. These stores are cheerfully decorated with baked treats and centered around a giant pink rolling-pin-shaped table where people can bake, (Toronto only), and decorate cookies and cupcakes, (all stores). Cleverly, Robin Hood has recreated an environment where families and friends can connect by having fun baking home-made goodies ... 21st century-style! Here, if needed, friendly assistants help steer the task at hand, immersing visitors in the Robin Hood experience of treasured memories and baked goodies that can be taken home and enjoyed. These pop-up stores can be found in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Richmond B.C., with an online version at http:/www.robinhood.ca/bakeshop. The Toronto store is located at 1034 Eglinton Avenue West and will be open in November on weekdays from 4.30 pm – 8.30 pm and 9 am - 5 pm on weekends. Visitors must pre-register at http://www.robinhood.ca/bakeshop and may need to go on a waiting list. In western Canada,  BAKE, BATTER & ROLL pop-up stores will briefly appear at the West Edmonton Mall on November 7th and 8th, Cross Iron Mills in Calgary on November 14th and 15th, and B.C.'s Richmond Centre on November 21st and 22nd.

Click below to visit the Robin Hood flour website, to view their current TV campaign featuring the charming Elizabeth and Andrew, and for perspective, to view a nostalgic Robin Hood flour ad from 1980.

Robin Hood Flour website  http://www.robinhood.ca/

Robin Hood Flour’s Current TV Campaign http://www.richardrosenman.com/project/?cid=71

Robin Hood Flour's Elizabeth and Andrew animated campaign

Robin Hood Flour’s 1980 Commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKXA8OyZPEQ




Bake shop image is credited to Stacey and Mark at Tasting Toronto


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