safefood: Transform Your Trolley

Making magic happen in safefood’s sponsorship of Operation Transformation

The principal sponsor of Operation Transformation since 2010, safefood wanted to increase its brand association with the ever-popular TV show and its faithful viewers in 2019.

As with any project we undertake at McCannBlue, we started with research and the Operation Transformation (OT) viewer. What we learned is that from the 350,000 plus people watching every week, the majority are in it for entertainment purposes, curious to see how the contestants, or leaders as they are known, will fare over the 8 weeks, but are not necessarily interested in undergoing the transformation being attempted themselves. This is the Strictly Come Dancing, X Factor and The Voice species of television consumer. If you want to engage them, you need to entertain them.

So we looked at the one weekly exercise routine everyone partakes in as our creative vehicle. “Transform Your Trolley" is the challenge to OT viewers. It's much easier for people to maintain a healthier, balanced diet if they buy a healthier, balanced food shop in the first place. The golden rule is if you don't buy it, you can't eat it. So this was going to be about giving shoppers, i.e. everybody, tips and tricks on how to transform their shopping habits and, in turn, their trolley.

To strengthen the association of safefood with the show and activation, we started by designing a bespoke safefood trolley.

So far, so good. But where were we going to push our trolley? Well we knew our audience are big-time second-screeners, so video was going to be central to a very social and digital-led campaign. But in the entertainment stakes, simply walking up and down the aisles documenting what did and did not constitute healthy things to drop in the weekly shop wasn't going to be that compelling.

So we considered the nature of the word “Transform" and its immediacy; how it sounds like all you have to do is wave a wand to change your shopping habits and transform your trolley.

That would require a magician… so we went out and found one, in the shape of Joel M, a 20-year-old magician from Co. Down, who took YouTube by storm last summer, going up and down the aisles of supermarkets making some products disappear and others transform before our very eyes. So, just the man for the job.

The film we produced for the brand activation sees Joel team up with Aoife Hearne, celebrity nutritionist and Operation Transformation presenter, as they go about their weekly shop, with Aoife teaching us shopping magic tricks to change up our shopping habits and transform our trollies.

The two-minute video has been seeded out on the safefood website and YouTube channel, with edits broken up into individual standalone tip videos for Instagram and Facebook stories.

We also took the idea of “Transform Your Trolley" and extended it into live activations which have taken place in Limerick and Letterkenny, close to the hometowns of Operation Transformation leaders, where we delved into the shopping habits of local shoppers, with nutritionists on hand to advise shoppers on ways to transform their weekly shopping ways.