There are plenty of cute Hollywood couples roaming the entertainment landscape, but Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard make a strong case for the most adorable. From the late-night talk show circuit to just being themselves on social media, the duo’s steady stream of real-life anecdotes is a refreshing change from sanitized versions of celebrity.
What also separates Bell and Shepard is their brutal honesty at times. They are not afraid to share the issues that matter to them, even their own relationship, which they put in full view of their children.
This candid approach serves as the backdrop for a new Lightlife campaign from Endeavor Global Marketing, touting the brand’s plant-based burger product. In “A Taste of Honesty,” Bell and Shepard lay it all out—sometimes awkwardly and in great detail—with no topic seemingly off-limits.
The “peek into the home” approach has been done before, even with the couple (for Samsung in 2015). Still, Bell and Shepard have several outstanding false starts, quips and punchlines that don’t need setups, making the spot familiar but decidedly different. Of course, this is all in service to honesty, and leads up to dinnertime when Shepard concedes that Brussels sprouts are “honestly, tastes like [bleep].” Lightlife burgers, on the other hand, are tasty.
“It’s really important to be honest with your kids about what they eat, because once they understand that food can be the building blocks for your body and your brain, I think that they actually will make better choices. I don’t want to have to lie to them,” Bell said.
“Partnering with Kristen and Dax is a significant moment for the brand,” said Michael Lenahan, vice president of marketing at Greenleaf Foods, the brand’s parent company.
While there can be pitfalls in letting talent run with a concept, the couple understood the goal from the start, according to Endeavor Global Marketing CCO Ryan Wagman.
“Dax and Kristen really co-created the campaign with us from the start,” Wagman said. “We pitched them the idea, they ran with it and brought their whole selves to it. For example, we’d never have pitched them a vasectomy joke. That was Dax’s idea. And the sex-talk scene? That’s pulled from their real lives. They’re just really honest people who care deeply about what they feed their kids.”
Additionally, throughout the process, Wagman and his team had the benefit of stars willing to help shape the end product.
“They were so invested in the entire process,” he noted. “On the set, Kristen was calling out direction. She was producing [and] doing client service. At the end of takes, when I’d go down to check in with our clients, Kristen was already there. She didn’t go back to her trailer. She just hung out. And Dax—he’s been sending notes on the edit the whole time.”
The likes of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have captured the imaginations of consumers through their relationships with Burger King and McDonald’s, respectively. But Lightlife is seeking to forge its own path, leaning on its four decades of heritage in the plant-based protein category. One key point the brand hopes to make is that its new line contains half the ingredients of other plant-based burgers.
“They’re just a great, honest company, with a really long history in food,” Shepard said. “They’ve got very minimal ingredients, and most importantly they just taste amazing.”
“And I like the company and what it stood for,” added Bell. “They have a 40-year history of bringing plant-based food to consumers that also tastes great. And, for me, having been vegetarian since I was 11, it’s always something that I’m looking for.”
According to Wagman, the campaign with Bell and Shepard is a starting point, and the agency is looking to make “bold moves” in the now hyper-competitive category, including brand partnerships and “content opportunities that help position [the brand] as a leader and maverick.”
“I don’t know if Dax and Kristen are going to read this, but hopefully we’ll do some more with them in the future, too,” he said. “They love the brand, and they’re such great ambassadors. As funny as they were, they were even nicer.”
Creative Company: Endeavor Global Marketing
Chief Creative Officer: Ryan Wagman
EVP Advertising, Branding and Digital: Nick Phelps
Executive Creative Director: Roni Sebastian
Creative Director: Eric Lamb
Associate Creative Directors: Rachel Yanovski, Joel Kennedy
Art Director: Wallace Bridges
SVP Head of Strategy: Dan Neumann
VP Cultural Strategy and Planning: Liz Simons
Social Strategist: Mahala Bryant
SVP Head of Account Management: Dave Foster
Account Director: Lisa Hung
Senior Producer: Kristin Varraveto
Producers: Taylor Price, Eric Botel
Entertainment Team SVP: Mike Lewinsky
Cultural Strategist: Brent Mullins
Production Company: Film 47
Director: Morgan Sackett
President: Vic Palumbo
DP: Jonathan Freeman
Executive Producer: Helga Gruber
Producer: Cindy Becker
Editorial Company: Union Editorial
Editors: Sloane Klevin
Assistant Editor: Jean Taylor Cassidy
Executive Producer: Caryn MacLean
Producer: Susan Motamed
Motion Graphics Producer: Tim Vierling
Lead Designer: Chris Bialkowski
Animator: Junsik Na
Lead Flame Artist: Jason Ortenberg
Mixer: Tom Jucarone at Sound Lounge
Music Company: JSM Music
Title: “The Whole Truth”
CEO: Joel Simon
Executive Producer: Jeff Fiorello
Producers: Norm Felker & Andrew Manning
Media Company: Spark
PR Companies: Endeavor Global Marketing and Edible Lightlife
President/CEO: Dan Curtin
VP of Marketing: Michael Lenahan
Director of Marketing: Peter Roose
Director, Digital Marketing & Media: Cory Lopez
Social Media Manager: Maggie Cooney