2021 Social & Influencer


Category D05. Cultural Insight
Entrant BBDO Dublin, IRELAND
Idea Creation BBDO Dublin, IRELAND
Name Company Position
Shane O'Brien BBDO Dublin Executive Creative Director
Ivona Poljak BBDO Dublin Art Director
Isabel Harvey BBDO Dublin Copywriter
Rachel O'Dovovan BBDO Dublin Planner
Laura King BBDO Dublin Account Manager

Why is this work relevant for Social & Influencer?

This was a Social and Influencer campaign in the truest sense. The campaign did not exist on any other medium. Using only Instagram and a handful of carefully selected influencer partnerships, we changed the perception of potatoes among Irish millennials and saw dramatic sales increases in among our core target. We embedded potatoes in Irish millennial culture, and made our national stereotype cool again.


Irish millennials had fallen out of love with potatoes.…They had come to believe that Ireland’s national vegetable was dull, boring and bad for them. And they were having their head turned by other, more exotic carbs - such as pasta, couscous rice and quinoa - which they perceived as more contemporary, healthier and more appealing. The brief was simple. We had to show them what they weren’t seeing. That the humble spud isn’t just a national stereotype… And it isn’t that humble at all. Potatoes are a superfood. We needed to change perceptions among millennials about potatoes and increase sales of potatoes.

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

Irish Millennials prided themselves on worldliness and enjoy exploring exotic cuisine from other countries. Potatoes were associated with their “meat and two vegetables” childhood dinners. Lifestyles had also shifted and potatoes were no longer seen as convenient. Most millennials lived in shared accommodation with smaller kitchens and were conscious of hogging the stove. Many had only one pot and did not have a potato peeler. When they did purchase potatoes, they defaulted to either mash or wedges. It was clear that Irish millennials felt potatoes weren’t for them. We had to educate them on potatoes’ benefits and change their perception. And so we launched our idea - “Prepare to be Surprised”. Using the right style, the right messaging and reaching them in the right places, we would show our audience potatoes in a way they had never seen them before. And that millennials and potatoes were perfect for each other.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Extensive research from Bord Bia revealed that Irish millennials (18-34s) considered potatoes as “dull”, “fattening” and “boring’, whereas products such as quinoa were associated with words like “hipster, modern, and young”. Over half of the 18-34 age group believed potatoes contained too many calories, whereas the older generation associated the potato with healthy components such as fibre, vitamin c and magnesium. Our target group purchased roughly 78 kilos of potato’s every year compared to older groups who bought an average of 123 kilos per year. Millennials are an Instagram first generation, and Influencers act as key information points. They trust and value information from them, and turn to them for advice. We hand-picked relevant influencers to create bespoke content for our campaign that would feel authentic and engaging. Then we would deliver the campaign in a completely new visual language for the category that felt relevant to millennial lifestyles.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We launched the campaign with a line of potato merchandise with one of Ireland’s hippest boutiques. Targeted influencer drops blew up on social media, making potatoes the must have accessory for the season. Then we held live cook-a-long events with some of Ireland’s favourite influencers to position potatoes as simple, versatile and healthy. Behaviourally, we needed to help the audience get more confident handling potatoes, understand how to cook them and get into the habit of preparing them. We chose simple and accessible recipes with a global or exotic flavour to increase appeal – the opposite of what you might expect. And once we had their attention, we demonstrated the versatility and health benefits of potatoes with our always-on Instagram hub where we shared recipes tailored to millennials unique kitchen challenges – lack of time, space and equipment. All putting potatoes right back at the heart of Irish millennial culture.

List the results (30% of vote)

The campaign was a huge success against its objectives of sales and perception change. - 33% weekly increase in sales among millennials. (Kantar sales data Nov 2020) - 8% growth in potato market as a whole in 2020. (Coyne national tracking with audience boost Nov 2020) - 9% increase in positive statement agreements that potatoes are versatile, healthy, convenient amongst core target audience ( Coyne, Jan 2021) - 47% prompted awareness of this campaign amongst target group (Coyne Nov 2020) - Over half of core target claim that the campaign would encourage them to consume potatoes more frequently, while just under half claim that they plan on purchasing more fresh potatoes as a result of this campaign - +7% above the total (Coyne Nov 2020) - 2 million views to completion of influencer content in a market with a total population of 4.5 million.

Please tell us about the cultural insight that inspired the work

Ireland has a unique relationship with potatoes. We were traditionally known as a nation of spud lovers. They are our national vegetable and form part of our national stereotype. However, we also have a tragic history with them based on the Great Famine of the 1840s when the potato crops failed and millions died or emigrated. So selling potatoes to Irish people was always going to be a unique and different proposition to anywhere else in Europe. While in other markets potatoes were just not part of the food culture, in Ireland it was established and engrained – it was just falling out of favour. So the challenge was to completely change the perception of potatoes among millennials, in a country that had a long and complicated history with them. We needed to reintroduce them in a way they has never been seen before. We needed to make potatoes fashionable.