Cannes Lions

RANCH ON A BRANCH: BRINGING FLAVOR TO SEASONAL TRADITIONS

MULLENLOWE U.S., Boston / HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH / 2023

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Overview

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Overview

Background

Over the past five years, HVR had become known for their “outrageous brand acts” around the holidays, including the launch of a ranch keg and a ranch fountain. However, with each year this becomes more of a challenge due to many brands jumping in on the holiday gift giving conversation. In 2022, the brand needed to create a breakthrough culturally relevant holiday product that differentiated from other fandom brands and generated talk value among press while giving Hidden Valley Ranch’s “Super Fans” audience a moment of joy that they could relate to.

We found that our "Super Fans" valued family, with home at the center of their world; and, they are tapped into home decor and DIY. We also found that according to One Poll, 63% of people would feel guilty if they didn’t follow their old holiday traditions, but they also have a desire to spice them up.

Idea

To give Super Fans a way to interact with HVR around a holiday filled with tradition, we created 1,000 limited-edition Ranch on a Branch collectible boxed sets, featuring a plushie Hidden Valley Ranch (aka “Ranchie”) and a storybook detailing their dream: to become a REAL bottle of HVR so they can continue to spread joy through the real flavor only HVR can bring. Owners were encouraged to place Ranchie in a new spot each day throughout the holidays as a reminder to spread joy. We sold the collectible on the HVR website in exchange for a donation to Feeding America.

Strategy

Launch timing needed to be strategically concocted to avoid getting lost in the crowded gifting and holiday sales media landscape. With that in mind, we set our sights on a Mid-November launch ahead of Thanksgiving to ensure Ranch on a Branch would be included in articles around holiday traditions, popular toys, gifts that give back, and appeal to our Super Fans who would be purchasing Ranch on a Branch.

A big part of Ranch on a Branch is their story, and with there being a limited number of kits available, we knew we needed to showcase Ranch on a Branch visually to break through with media. In addition to high-res images that showed Ranch on a Branch in various locations through the home, we created an animated video of Ranchie’s storybook to further articulate Ranchie’s dream of becoming a real bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch through acts that spark joy.

Execution

Knowing we needed to launch Ranch on a Branch at the top of the holiday season to get ahead of the news cycle, we maximized exposure by kicking off embargoed communication at the end of October to a curated list of food & beverage, lifestyle, parenting publications as well as broadcast morning shows, and celebrity influencers who are known for their love of the brand. We also strategically seeded product to give recipients time to tee up coverage and social posts ahead of launch day.

Ranch on the Branch officially launched on Monday, November 14. At launch, we went wide, pitching digital publications across food & beverage, lifestyle, parenting, general news, and trade publications. We also conducted outreach to both the top 15 DMAs and national morning, afternoon and evening broadcast shows. Press and super fans took notice.

Outcome

Press validated our new tradition with rave reviews and Ranch on a Branch sold out just 10 hours after going live. Our strategic outreach efforts resulted in syndication of our digital placements and local DMA broadcast segments, fueling virality and keeping the story of Ranch on a Branch alive post launch and post sell out - leading to a surge in media placements:

- Ranch on a Branch generated a total of 750 media placements, 470 of which were regional and national broadcast placements, including a segment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

- The hundreds of placements secured led to 2.65+ billion impressions with 100% positive/neutral sentiment. 80% of online placements were features, 89% of coverage included headline mentions.

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