Classico Pasta Sauce redefines fam dinners

If we asked you to name your family, you’d probably start with your mom or dad or sister or uncle. But there’s more to family than just biology. Oftentimes, our closest friends, allies, coworkers, and confidants are the people we’d truly want to share a “family dinner” with. In a new campaign created by mixed media production company 1stAveMachine and independent creative agency Johannes Leonardo , Classico Pasta Sauce redefines just who that family is.

Helmed by 1stAveMachine Director Tucker Bliss, the campaign, entitled “Family Is Who You Cook For,” features three new films that each talk about a different type of “family.”

A man and his dog, a young couple who battles with awkward night shifts, and a neighbor next door who is always grateful for a visitor. The work is part of a new brand platform for Classico Pasta Sauce aimed at capturing a new mindset and a new audience.

The films mark the first work out of Johannes Leonardo for Classico Pasta Sauce since winning the Kraft business, and were created to be a lasting and powerful new brand purpose to bring you closer to the people you love.

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“Building on years of organic growth, we sought out to give the brand a unique and ownable voice that would genuinely resonate with the care and attention that goes into preparing a simple, heartwarming meal made with Classico Pasta Sauce,” said Juliet Levine, Brand Manager of Classico Pasta Sauce at Kraft Heinz.

The campaign was born out of a fresh insight for the pasta sauce category, which typically features tired, false, and unrealistic portrayals of family. Uncovered by spending hours having dinner and talking to real consumers, the Classico Pasta Sauce marketing team and Johannes Leonardo discovered that the true definition of the modern family isn’t wholly based on who you are related to – it is based on an active choice. Over time, we carefully curate our inner social circle, and these are the people you tend to cook for as a way of showing that they are part of your chosen family.

Running social and digital with cut down versions airing on TV, the films were shot to be as authentic as possible; to have a bit of moodiness to them so they would stand out against the bright, happy-go-lucky commercials typical to the category.

The final result was work that bucked tropes and stood out as the only pasta sauce brand that truly reflects modern families of all kinds, even yours.

“As we build a new approach for Classico Pasta Sauce around the brand purpose of bringing us closer to the people we love, this campaign was very deliberately an authentic portrayal of the many types of family relationships we have in our lives,” says Johannes Leonardo’s Strategy Director Jonathan Deves. “We’re very excited about this fresh work for Classico Pasta Sauce and an opportunity to bring to life a new creative platform over time.”

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“This campaign was all about how family can mean anything these days and food is what ties it all together”, says 1stAveMachine Executive Producer Michaela McKee. “Tucker’s subtle restrained camera work enables the audience to be a fly on the wall for these domestic slices of life.”


CLIENT: Classico Pasta Sauce

  • Director – Frozen & Classico: Matt Carpenter                                  
  • Brand Manager: Juliet Levine                        
  • Sr. Associate Brand Manager: Ashleigh Calderone
  • Associate Brand Manager: Joshua Kosoglaz                                   

AGENCY: Johannes Leonardo

  • Co-Founder/Chief Creative Officer: Jan Jacobs
  • Co-Founder/Chief Creative Officer: Leo Premutico
  • Creative Director: John Regan
  • Art Director: Austin Haas
  • Copywriter: Brandon Holliday
  • Head of Production: Maria Perez
  • Executive Producer: Brett Fisher
  • Senior Producer: Kelly Treadway
  • Account Director: Elektra O’Malley               
  • Account Supervisor: Jack Beck                                
  • Account Supervisor: Jocelyn Choi
  • Account Executive: Joel Bebasa       
  • Head of Strategy: Mark Aronson
  • Strategy Director: Jonathan Deves
  • Sr. Comms Planner: Casey Donahue           
  • Project Manager: Sarah Scardillo      
  • Business Affairs Director: Alesa Blanchard Nelson              
  • Business Affairs Manager: Joe Bringuier


  • Director: Tucker Bliss
  • Partner/Executive Producer: Sam Penfield
  • Executive Producer: Michaela McKee
  • Producer: Jason Taragan

SOURCE: 1stAveMachine