Understanding mealtime rituals to effectively connect with older and younger demographic groups, inspiring them to cook at home.
McCormick & Company is a popular spice manufacturer that has been helping people add flavor and excitement to their meals for over one hundred years. However, like most companies, they face various challenges in maintaining and growing their vast customer base. The two customer segments McCormick & Co. is most interested in building upon are families with two parents aged 25–40, and one or more children; as well as young, unmarried professionals aged 20–28. Through advertising, McCormick & Co. is hoping to identify and capitalize on unique appeals for each of these two customer segments.
Meal preparation is a daily practice for most individuals and its approach varies depending on the person. However, the typical routine usually begins with a purchase of some necessary ingredients such as meat, vegetables, grains, spices, oils, etc. Next, using their own knowledge or another’s direction, the person will prepare the foods to match a cuisine style largely dependent on their ability, accessibility to cooking equipment, and taste preference. Finally, if all goes to plan, they will be able to eat, and possibly serve, the completed fare while relishing in their efforts.
Composing a meal is a ritual that can possess very different meanings depending on the demographic. For families with two parents aged 25–40, and one or more children, meal preparation is symbolic of togetherness and love. Food has the unique ability to bring families together, and can act as the medium through which family members converse and bond. At family gatherings, such as birthdays, holidays, and other special events, food plays a very important role by providing flavor evocative of the celebration at hand. Furthermore, with an ever-growing number of distractions occupying the attention of family members, especially children, it is vital for a family to have a consistent reason to come together and immerse themselves in the comfort of each other. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and meals of all kinds, possess the capacity to accomplish this difficult task.
In contrast, meal preparation for young, unmarried professionals aged 20–28 symbolizes independence and creation. Whether these individuals are away from their parents while attending college or beginning a new job and living on their own, being able to cook a satisfying meal gives them a sense of individualistic confidence. In some cases, a twentysomething may be accustomed to a parent preparing their foods, so following through on the activity of making their own meal reinforces the idea that they can thrive and, ultimately, take care of themselves. Furthermore, the ritual of meal preparation is an enterprise that can represent creativity and ingenuity, especially if the food is being presented at a party or get-together. McCormick & Co. spices provide the perfect avenue for young individuals to express themselves through eats and experiment with diverse tastes and ideas.
The advertising appeals pertaining to these specific customer segments should reflect the deeper meaning behind meal preparation ideals and the ways in which McCormick & Co. spices can add to that experience. In regards to a family demographic, a possible short story advertisement could focus on the previously outlined appeals of togetherness and love. Imagine a setting where two or three children are captivated by their smartphones while lounging in a living room along with their mother and father. The parents are speaking to one another and repeatedly attempting to intervene on the attention of their younger ones, but to little avail.
After exhausting all options to create conversation with their children, the mother and father head to the kitchen and prepare an impressive meal using McCormick & Co. products which are visually highlighted throughout the process. The children’s sense of smell is excited, subsequently attracting them to the kitchen where they stumble upon a mouthwatering feast including garlic Caesar salad, sliced golden-brown chicken, steaming green beans, mashed sweet potatoes, and cinnamon-spiced apple crisp dessert. Dinner is served and the family proceeds to talk, smile, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company over a warm and wholesome supper amplified by McCormick & Co.
On the other hand, a population of young professionals hoping to save money and do more home cooking evokes the scene of a youthful male or female hanging out at their contemporary apartment, planning to host a dinner with some friends. As they scan the kitchen for miscellaneous ingredients, their confidence in producing an awesome meal begins to fade, but not before their eye catches a few bottles of McCormick & Co. spices on the counter. This sighting causes a brief daydream to take control of their thoughts as they visualize the possible applications of these spices, which instantly inspires them to create an exotic, seasoning-infused dinner. A fast-paced, quick-cut cooking montage ensues and various bottles of McCormick & Co. ingredients are brought to the forefront of the viewer’s observation throughout the project.
Once completed, the final product showcases chargrilled, spice-rubbed chicken, tri-colored peppers, moist white rice, black beans, flour wraps, and various other Mexican-style sides and sauces. Shortly thereafter, several hipster-looking peers arrive at the apartment and are pleasantly surprised as they are exposed to the sweet smells of fresh fajitas and tacos. The young cook’s striking arrangement yields an abundance of compliments and photos, and everyone begins to act noticeably joyous as they assemble their plates, consume the foods, and revel in each other’s presence. At the end, the principal character once again becomes the focal point of the ad and, using facial expressions, manifests an image of content and independence.
Each of these short story advertisements embody marketing appeals geared towards either families with two parents aged 25–40, and one or more children; or young, unmarried professionals aged 20–28. Although there are similar themes of happiness and good times in both proposals, the characters and other specifics are supposed to capture the imagination of the distinct target audiences and attract them to the indispensable and versatile flavors McCormick & Co. provides. By connecting with these populations, the overall goal is to revitalize the attitude surrounding home cooking and, therefore, increase sales of McCormick & Co. products.