Seattle Has the (Italian) Meats

By Doug Zanger 

When thinking of challenger brands, one likely defaults to incumbents in categories like razors, feminine hygiene, luggage, personal care and, in one case, cereal.

But what of the cured meats category? Charcuterie is oft the domain of local artisans, but there is an argument that, in the sliced meat game, brands like Boar’s Head, Dietz & Watson and Applegate have some pretty decent name recognition and requisite share of the market.

Creminelli is looking to poke a stick in the “Big Lunchmeat” hornet’s nest with new marketing intended to get people thinking about its growing product offerings.

As it turns out, the brand has been doing quite well, especially in the vaunted prosciutto category, outpacing its nearest competitors by double digits. With that in mind, Creminelli picked Seattle and its well-known foodie culture for its first advertising campaign.

The campaign, created by Milwaukee-based indie Hanson Dodge, fits the quirky ethos of the city. The agency immersed itself in Seattle’s food culture to find some gems to work with.

“We know that Seattle is a city with a fun and unique food scene worth getting to know and sharing in our creative,” said Eric Schwartz-Johnson, CMO of Creminelli. “We entrusted Hanson Dodge with helping find these Seattle foodie insights using our own knowledge plus interviews with Seattle foodies and then bringing them to life creatively.”

It’s a wide-ranging affair of TV, OOH, transit, social, search and retail, targeting millennial foodies with some local flavor. Heavy on the wordplay, the campaign references Seattle-known things like geoduck, hot dogs with cream cheese, oyster bars, fair-weather fandom and, prominently, the city’s love of southern-inspired Biscuit Bitch.

These are obvious, inside baseball-type references that the denizens of Seattle would get, and the agency got down and dirty to figure out how to connect to the audience.

“We interviewed foodies and scoured food-related videos, articles, listicles and Infatuation reviews,” said Joe Ciccarelli, Hanson Dodge’s vp, creative director. “This led us to a mix of creative that only Seattleites would get. We even got in a few playful digs, like the idea some Seattleites are more loyal to the stadium garlic fries than the Mariners.”

That last part is true. Until the Mariners can put a decent team on the field (and fans are allowed back in the stadium), the food is about the only good thing coming out of T-Mobile Field.

After this first run in Seattle, the brand will assess and determine which markets to approach next. Based on the tone of the creative, the smart money is on Portland, Ore., or Austin, Texas.