When team members responsible for the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand unveiled the Good Feeds Us All campaign last year, they knew they wanted much more than a series of ads and marketing collateral. So they came up with a way for the rubber to meet the road, figuratively and literally.
Enter the Good Feeds Us All Tour, a way of connecting with people and organizations throughout the United States to demonstrate that a simple sandwich not only nourishes bodies, it can change lives.
“We’ve sat down with people who buy our brand. One consumer talked about the sandwiches her mom used to make and how they made her feel so special,” said Beth Fehrenbacher, senior brand manager for the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand.
We are continuing our legacy of doing a little bit more, a little bit better and then shining the light on those in our communities who are also doing a little bit more and a little bit betterBeth Fehrenbacher, senior brand manager for the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand.
Armed with that insight, the idea of the Good Feeds Us All Tour developed organically from a discussion about bringing the advertising campaign to life.
“We are continuing our legacy of doing a little bit more, a little bit better and then shining the light on those in our communities who are also doing a little bit more and a little bit better,” she said, emphasizing that small gestures lead to big results and that a sandwich can be the common denominator. “Food is at the center of so many special events.”
Taking It To The Streets
The tour began softly with a visit to the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. It was fitting. After all, the Good Feeds Us All ad campaign kicked off with a memorable and heartwarming commercial featuring Joey, a little boy who learns American sign language in order to ask his deaf classmate if she would like to share his sandwich. “Good feeds our connections. Good feeds us all,” the voiceover reminds us.
Hormel Foods team members hit their stride by the time they landed in Dallas to work with the Birthday Party Project, an organization that throws themed birthday parties for kids who are often forgotten.
“Our mission is to bring joy to children through the magic of birthdays,” said Kimberly Nielsen, director of operations for the Birthday Party Project. “… Not everybody has a home, but everybody has a birthday. To be able to bring that to a child who needs a little extra joy…. It just brings communities together.”
The 8-year-old nonprofit began with a party at one agency in Dallas. Today there are nearly 50 parties each month in 15 U.S. cities. Parties are replete with all the trimmings – a theme, cakes, sandwiches, candles, gifts and more. Children in the system, young mothers without partners and homeless kids are among the beneficiaries.
Ashley Jackson is a case manager at Promise House, the site of one of the Good Feeds Us All Tour stops. She summed up the young people’s reaction to the news of a party in their honor in one word.
‘Really?,’ because they just weren’t expecting anything. So, it’s ‘Really? A birthday party for us?’ We get that a lot,” she said.
After the celebration – and the disbelief – gratitude sets in. The kids admit they didn’t think anyone would remember their birthdays, much less plan a party in their honor.
Hormel Foods team members were in the thick of preparations at Promise House, rolling up their sleeves to shop for gifts and decorate common areas. They also invited Beau Coffron, otherwise known as “Lunchbox Dad,” to join them at the celebration. Coffron showed partygoers how to turn ordinary food – sandwiches, for example – into works of art. The activity got to the heart of what the Good Feeds Us All Tour is about.
“It’s about strangers coming together, and there’s something about preparing a sandwich that just opens up this idea that you can communicate together,” he said. “It breaks down barriers, breaks down walls.”
Coming To A City Near You
According to Fehrenbacher, Hormel Foods will be shining the light on the Birthday Party Project’s work in other cities. Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis, for example. As the Good Feeds Us All Tour continues, there will be more stops and additional organizations to recognize. In Louisville, Ky., it will be all about the Be Strong We Dine Together initiative, an organization and movement that work for inclusion – and against bullying – in high schools.
According to Fehrenbacher, at the heart of the Good Feeds Us All Tour is a desire to show consumers what the brand stands for, metaphorically speaking.
“We want consumers to see that we care,” she said. “The tour is about finding opportunities for the sharing of a sandwich to connect people and to be the catalyst to allow that to take place. This isn’t about us coming in to save the day. It’s about giving those who are already doing it a platform to share their stories.”