HelloFresh uses short-form digital video to target home cooks as school year begins

Correction: A previous version of this story focused on TikTok when Hello Fresh is using short-form digital video across multiple platforms. The story has been updated to reflect that.

Ahead of the start of a new school year, HelloFresh is investing in short-form video to tout its ease of use and appeal to home chefs. As part of that effort, the meal kits company, which was founded in 2011, collaborated with actor Neil Patrick Harris and chef David Burtka to develop a new recipe series that will be featured on YouTube Shorts, TikTok and Reels.

“The ad is live on YouTube with support across LinkedIn, Facebook/Instagram, and TikTok with a mix of organic and paid tactics,” said Jens Reich, CMO and managing director of HelloFresh. “We are focusing on shorts, reels, and TikTok.”

The new advertising effort is meant to build awareness and brand affinity for Hello Fresh. It coincides with the back-to-school season to reach home cooks worldwide. By working with Patrick Harris and Burtka, the brand is aiming to put more “humor and fun” into its ads “which aligns with our brand values,” explained Reich.

“Celebrities work best when the product relates authentically to something in their background,” said Allen Adamson, co-founder of marketing company Metaforce, noting that Burtka is a professional chef.

It is unclear how much of HelloFresh’s advertising budget is allocated to short-form digital video or the overall campaign as Reich declined to share those exact details. HelloFresh spent a little over $39 million so far in 2022 on marketing initatives, according to Pathmatics. According to Reich, media spending includes channels like linear TV, digital channels, social media, radio and podcasts.

The brand’s in-house creative team created the campaign targeting home cooks, messaging the brand has continued with as the pandemic kept people home, Reich said.

HelloFresh isn’t the only brand finding success on short-form video as a marketing tool. Others including Lipton and direct-to-consumer period care brand Viv which went to TikTok with their most recent campaigns as the platform has grown.

Investing in short-form video makes sense to Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential. “You marry the passion and expertise of one creator and amplify it with their [advertising] partner who usually has more notoriety and followers,” said Detert. “Together the content feels more authentic and relatable while reaching the scale a brand needs to move the needle.”

Selecting the right celebrity for the role is crucial to generating real performance. There is a need for brands to look beyond an initial burst of brand fame, and determine how engaged, relevant and sustainable that celebrity’s audience is after the initial burst. Having the most followers, or having the loudest voice shouldn’t be prioritized over how those voices could complement and amplify the brand’s proposition, mission, and values.

“Partnering with celebrities works best when it is part of a wider, long-term marketing strategy,” said Beth Nunnington, vp of digital PR and content marketing at brand performance agency, Journey Further. “This is because the relationship will then be perceived as authentic and genuine.”

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