Havas Chicago Explores Ragu’s Roots With ‘Simmered in Tradition’

By Erik Oster 

Havas Worldwide Chicago launched a new campaign for Ragu, entitled “Simmered in Tradition,” its first work for the brand since winning creative duties in June following a review. Ragu was acquired by Mizkan Group, along with Bertolli, last year

“Simmered in Tradition” tells the story of the brand’s humble beginnings, with founder Assunta Cantisano selling her homemade tomato sauce to locals from her porch. The story is delivered by a rushed voiceover, with uptempo jazz playing in the background. Near its conclusion it makes the leap to present day with a shot of Cantisano fading into a modern-day woman heating the sauce on her stovetop, accompanied by the line “Times change, taste doesn’t.” The spot very self-consciously tries (perhaps a bit too hard) to avoid seeming like just another story about a brand’s authentic roots, and risks losing its voice along the way to its “Simmered in Tradition” tagline. “Simmered in Tradition” made its broadcast debut Monday and will soon be joined by additional 15-second spots, including Spanish-language ads, and the campaign also includes social media initiatives through channels such as Pinterest and Facebook

“One thing that we wanted to make sure was that it didn’t feel like a history lesson or was a dusty story in any way,” Havas Worldwide Chicago group creative director Michelle Tucker told AdAge

“We’ve always been excited about the untapped potential of the inspiring story of Ragu’s founder, Assunta Cantisano,” added Dan O’Leary, vice president, marketing at Mizkan Group subsidiary R&B Foods. “We believe the new advertising brings this story to life in a way that’s a real tribute to a woman who was a true pioneer.”