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Why Lite n’ Easy’s response to YouFoodz’s We Got You. campaign missed the mark

Youfoodz

Youfoodz’s recent series of commercials titled ‘We Got You’ hit a sore spot with pre-packed meals competitor Lite n’ Easy, and they’re letting people know it.

The commercials were a comparison of the Youfoodz meals and service versus ‘Generic Foods’, represented by a woman on each side of the screen. The Youfoodz rep was bright and colourful in line with their brand, and the generic comparison was dull and grey, and reflected the pre-packed meals industry post-recent-disruption.

The comparisons the brand leveraged in a humorous and light-hearted way included fresh versus frozen delivery, added value (free meals!) versus dry ice in packaging, easy online ordering versus lack thereof. Over all, it was a pretty tame campaign that highlighted the unique selling proposition of the Youfoodz goods and service. But competitor Light n’ Easy did not see it that way.

“You may have seen recent television commercials by Youfoodz containing thinly veiled criticism of a competitor called ‘Generic Foods’. This is clearly intended to be Light n’ Easy,” an email from Lite n’ Easy CEO Gary Kerr started.

Yes, champions of the pre-packed food industry Lite n’ Easy took it upon themselves to reply, but not to the public. The email was sent to its own customers, in an effort to save the brand from what they thought was a direct attack.

“In over 30 years in business, Lite n’ Easy have never used, and will never use, criticism of competitors, simulated offensive language, or sexual innuendo in our advertising,” the email continues.

Ironically of course, the email then takes a shot at Youfoodz while ensuring customers that the comparisons Youfoodz made in the ads are actually Lite n’ Easy’s point of difference. Lite n’ Easy’s response just amplified the Youfoodz commercials even further, and straight to their target audience, too.

You can read the email at the bottom of this article but the key points really are that Lite n’ Easy is annoyed that Youfoodz pointed out their differences and they can’t do anything about it.

And that’s fine, but what Lite n’ Easy should have done is responded in a way that entertains their audience (read: with humour).

Responded is the key word here because Lite n’ Easy’s email is clearly not a well thought-out response, it’s a knee-jerk reaction.

Whether it was an open letter to the public, a short video online, or a full-blown television campaign, Lite n’ Easy could have very easily leveraged this as an opportunity to play in the same space as Youfoodz and take a shot at securing a bit more market share.

Imagine if they flipped the script and championed their benefits in an equally funny way, pushed the boundaries and highlighted the way they execute their service and the good news stories out of it (like epic weight loss success stories).

What they’ve done is the opposite of that. They’ve spoken to their customers only and shared the benefits of Youfoodz with them. And they have not done so in style.

The best outcome for this is the one for marketers. It’s a reminder of what no to do when your brand is threatened. It’s a reminder not to react, but instead respond in a way that leaves a positive and meaningful impact for your brand.

Image via Bronwyn Cook

LIte n easy letter