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VH Sauces rings in Chinese New Year with retailers

VH goes big with large-scale, in-store displays at retailers including Sobeys, Metro and IGA

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VH Sauces is ringing in the Chinese New Year with a national in-store marketing campaign.

The ConAgra-owned brand has been participating in Chinese New Year for close to a decade, says Ryan Fowler, senior brand manager, grocery at ConAgra. “Shoppers expect the VH brand to participate in a big way during Chinese New Year, and over the last couple of years, it’s really gained steam,” he says.

For this year’s Chinese New Year (Jan. 28), VH is indeed going “big” with large-scale, in-store displays at retailers including Sobeys, Metro and IGA. The displays feature eye-catching red canopies, as well as the iconic Chinese dragon and the tagline, “Join the Celebration.” The displays are located in the perimeter rather than the sauce section, and enable VH to cross-merchandise with items like rice and produce.

“We are trying to make our sauces accessible to consumers and make them feel comfortable trying them through really theatrical, out-of-section displays,” says Fowler.

The VH brand, which has a 60-year history in Canada, represents one third of the total category in terms of market share, notes Fowler. Today, there are a number of new competitors in the space, and shoppers are overwhelmed with choice.

“The section itself is very confusing to consumers, and 24% of shoppers who go down that aisle leave without a purchase,” he says. “They’re overwhelmed, they’re confused, and they can’t find exactly what they set out to find… So, the more we can drive that out-of-section display, and cross-merchandise with perimeter categories like fresh produce and meat, the more we can [inspire] the consumer at that moment of truth, and make them feel comfortable with their purchase.”

In a marked difference in strategy versus previous years, VH shifted its overall marketing campaign to September, rather than kicking off just prior to Chinese New Year. The brand launched a television spot, out-of-home ads, and a demo program promoting the brand’s new “perfect for two” pouch format.

“The goal was to build awareness all throughout the fall season up to about Christmas,” says Fowler. “With that, we built awareness in time for the launch for Chinese New Year, so VH is really top of mind during this timeframe.”

The pouches are also included in the new in-store displays, along with coupons. With the pouches, VH “is recognizing the growth in one- to two-person households in Canada, as well as the need to tailor our offerings to millennial consumers,” says Fowler. “A big emphasis for the Chinese New Year program this year was to build more awareness and [develop] tactics around our pouches to get them in front of consumers.”

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