Chef Boyardee Plays Up Wholesomeness in New Ads


Chef Boyardee has cooked up new ads that boast the wholesome ingredients of its shelf-stable meals. The ads mark the second phase of the brand's ongoing campaign, dubbed "Obviously delicious. Secretly nutritious."

The effort consists of print and TV ads, which break today (Monday). The first TV ad shows a father being pleasantly surprised as he finds out that Whole Grain Beefaroni contains “whole grain pasta.” His wife tells him to “zip it,” or else their daughter—and her friend, who is visiting—would “never eat it.” Bewildered by their behavior, the girls shoot each other funny looks across the table, and the guest remarks: “Your parents are freaks.”

The second spot positions microwavable Chef Boyardee meals as a “wholesome snack.” It opens with a mom sitting in a time-out chair because she almost divulged to her son that Chef Boyardee contains vegetables.

Both ads, via DDB, West, build on the brand's “Obviously delicious. Secretly nutritious” campaign, which launched last year, said Brent Guinn, brand director of shelf stable convenient meals at ConAgra Foods, which owns Chef Boyardee. In its research, ConAgra found that moms didn’t fully understand what was in the product, but once they were told it had a “full serving of vegetables,” consumption on the brand increased.

Kids, likewise, ate Chef Boyardee growing up, but many, upon entering their adolescent years, forgot about it, Guinn said. That's why ConAgra recently kicked off a separate campaign, featuring an unloved talking blanket. The effort, via ad agency Venables Bell & Partners, is meant to reconnect with this demographic.

“Moms don’t feel all that great about what’s in the can because they don’t understand it.” Kids, on the other hand, “tell us both qualitatively and quantitatively that they really like the taste of Chef Boyardee, but they just don’t think about it and kind of forget to ask mom about it,” Guinn said.

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