The c-store environment is a competitive space for snack and CPG brands, all fighting for attention. This new work from f’real, the purveyors of on-the-go, blend-it-yourself shakes and smoothies at more than 20k convenience store locations worldwide, is intended to shine a light on the difficulty in decision-making among those aisles and provide an easy – and tasty – solution.
“Overt marketing tactics do not resonate with Gen Z. They want experiences and they want a hand in shaping culture and trends,” notes Nikkie McBrayer, Sr. Director Global Platforms, f’real. “That’s exactly what we gave them with the creation of Lil’ Gutty.”
Targeted at Gen Zers across the country, the new campaign is from Muhtayzik Hoffer, the brand’s lead creative and media agency, and was produced by Goat Island, the agency’s in-house studio.
The creative comes in the form of Lil’ Gutty, the brand’s new puppet mascot who looks like a not-so-distant cousin of Cookie Monster.
In the spots, a hungry teenager, Jeff, is faced with an overabundance of snack choices among the c-store aisles. Lil’ Gutty slaps some sense into him, saying “Think beyond the snack rack, Jeff!” They both look at the f’real machine and then exit to the register with an armful of freshly blended shakes and smoothies. Watch below:
One spot touts the brand’s self-cleaning equipment, noticeably different from the forever rotating slushie machines Gen Zers frequent at many convenience stores. Watch below:
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“We were tasked with getting the attention of Gen Z after two long pandemic years. We realized early in the process that Lil’ Gutty can be more than the voice of f’real,” said Brendan Robertson, Chief Strategy Officer and associate partner at M/H. “Lil’ Gutty is the voice inside us all that encourages a treat and, just in time for summer, we wanted to lean into making fun and delicious decisions.”
The agency developed Lil’ Gutty based on the insight that Gen Z audiences are identity shapeshifters who are constantly looking for new ways to express themselves. Because of this, they gravitate towards brands that empower individuality and support autonomy. f’real sits at the intersection of c-store culture where young audiences spend a good deal of time.
M/H partnered with James Kemp, a puppet builder who has developed countless puppets for brands, entertainment, even for the iconic puppet musical comedy, Avenue Q. Kemp created Lil’ Gutty to embody the feeling of confidently knowing what’s best in a snack-attack.
The media plan (launching in the US and Canada) is reaching Gen Z by tapping into gaming (and partnering with Twitch), influencers, and via a comprehensive buy across social. The buy also includes connected TV, digital channels, and GSTV for point-of-purchase. Check out the social videos linked here.
“Getting this role was a true testament to trusting your gut,” said Lil’ Gutty, the star of the campaign. “I knew I was born for this and I went for it.”