Panera had long been a restaurant brand with integrity and honesty in its DNA. They were the first national restaurant company to use chicken raised without antibiotics, and voluntarily post calories on their menu panels for all to see. They had always worked to lead the fast casual category on a new path; they just hadn't ever taken credit for it.
Meanwhile, Americans had become cynical about corporate fast food giants and questioned whether Panera was any different. The Panera brand can be found at the same strip malls and freeway exits as other national restaurant chains. It makes sense that consumers would assume they're all the same.
When Panera announced its commitment to removing all artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources from its U.S. food menu, we saw our opportunity to not only demonstrate differentiation, but prove we stand on the side of the customer and aim to lead a new path forward.
Strategy knew we needed to communicate our newly cleaned up U.S. food menu, free of all artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources, in a way that went beyond differentiation from the fast casual category. We needed a bold demonstration of our philosophy and values that made a palpable impact on people's lives. We needed to go beyond traditional messaging. Action was the only way we would show we are truly on the side of the customer and leading a new path.
Challenging ingredient choices within the fast casual category's food can easily be interpreted as shaming the people who enjoy processed foods. It was critical that we boldly challenge the fast casual category without alienating people for their food choices. We would communicate through an uplifting, non-judgmental tone. We didn't want to present a false choice between "nutritious (or good for you) food" and "bad food". America had enough guilt and we certainly didn't want to fuel it. Thus, we would need to act in a way that demonstrated our values, philosophy and Cleaned up U.S. food menu, and called out the fast casual category without calling out the people who enjoy our competitors' food made with artificial preservatives.
We would develop a purpose-built brand act to demonstrate that we were leading the fast casual category to change, all while holding true to our principles of never shaming or judging and instead representing a positive relationship with food.
The engagement levels our content drove demonstrate the powerful impact it had on people.
1.4 million users engaged with our Facebook Live video with the first 9 hours!!
We saw a 5 second dwell time, 3 seconds higher than typical videos on Facebook.
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