Barilla Eyes Healthy Snackers on Facebook

Pasta maker Barilla is trying to position its Wasa Crispbread as a versatile, healthy snack with a social media campaign that launched this week.

The effort, called “Snackspiration,” is now live on Facebook and promotes the flatbread’s ability to be paired with other nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, spreads and proteins. It is part of the brand’s strategy to reach consumers by tapping into Facebook’s word-of-mouth, social networking capabilities.

Another component is an application, dubbed “Create a Snack,” which lets users build different snacks from scratch. A “Snack Off” recipe contest—for those who submit their own recipes—touts weekly prizes and a trip for two to Canyon Ranch hotel and spa in Arizona.

Wasa Crispbread hopes to get consumers to try its products through a “growing coupon” component on its Facebook page. At the moment, the coupon is worth 50 cents, but will grow in value as more consumers become fans, the company said. (The page currently has 3,353 followers.) The brand is also running banner ads on Facebook and on digital health sites, and is marketing the product via in-store promotional materials at key retailers.

The social media campaign, created by Euro RSCG, Chicago, targets those who often consume breads, crackers and cereals. “They are self-motivated women who want to keep the path of healthy living,” said Catherine Terry, Wasa Crispbreads’ brand manager.

Wasa Crispbread has tapped into a popular trend with its latest effort. Snacking as an eating habit has held steady in the last 10 years (it currently comprises 21 percent of all meals); however, consumption of foods like fruit cups, granola bars, rice/popcorn cakes and multigrain chips is growing, per The NPD Group. Snacks are expected to grow 20 percent over the next 10 years, the research firm said.

Barilla, which also sells pasta and sauces in the U.S., spent $150,000 advertising Wasa Crispbread in 2008. There was no spending on the brand in 2009 or this year, thus far, per the Nielsen Co., which doesn’t track online spending.