- Meal kit delivery marketer HelloFresh has partnered with actor and comedian Mindy Kaling on a four-part digital video series around navigating the trials of home cooking, per a press release.
- Launching in January across HelloFresh's digital advertising and social media channels, the series follows Kaling, an admitted "solid B-minus cook," as she looks to balance work life with preparing food for her family and friends. "Meals with Mindy" takes on a sitcom-style structure, and each episode will address a different topic, like avoiding the grocery store, with Kaling referencing HelloFresh recipe cards to solve problems.
- HelloFresh has benefited from the pandemic as more consumers return to home cooking. Enlisting a celebrity partner for branded content aligns with a broader trend that's emerged as marketers look to provide tips and entertainment to homebound audiences.
HelloFresh looks to capitalize on a boom in home cooking that first emerged at the pandemic's outset, when many bars and restaurants closed and consumers rushed to grocery stores to load up their pantries. The trend could see another spike as more states enact strict lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, which is hitting new peaks in several regions and could get worse with holiday travel and the colder winter months driving people indoors.
Partnering with Kaling might draw in audiences familiar with the multi-hyphenate's work on shows like "The Mindy Project," which she created and starred in, and "The Office." Playing up Kaling's amateur cooking abilities, the series could read as more relatable and illustrate the utility of HelloFresh's meal kits, which come packaged with exact ingredients and step-by-step instructions required for making a dish.
Like other marketers that have received a windfall from the pandemic, HelloFresh could be ramping up its marketing initiatives to sustain momentum that will be harder to maintain once an effective vaccine is widely distributed and restaurants are allowed to open in force. Earlier this month, the meal delivery kit marketer reported sales jumped 120% year-on-year in the third quarter to $1.13 billion, and executives said they were optimistic the company could hold onto customers in the long term.
"With regards to that habit formation, not only we, but the whole e-commerce industry from fashion, beauty and furniture and food, has really seen a tremendous acceleration of the shift from online — from offline to online players," HelloFresh CEO Dominik Richter said on a Nov. 3 call discussing the results. "Due to our customers continuing to spend more time at home, working from home and consequently, eating and cooking more times at home, we've observed strong data signals that point to sustainable habit formation."
While the video series with Kaling leans into a sitcom style and takes on a humorous tone, it also recognizes a harsh reality for many households at the moment, where working parents must balance busy job schedules with catering to their families. HelloFresh is angling to provide some reprieve with content that emphasizes the simplicity of preparing meals using its service.
As homebound consumers tune into streaming content in droves, and as regular production of movies and TV shows continues to stall, marketers like HelloFresh are seizing on celebrity ambassadors from familiar pop culture touchstones to capture consumer attention.
Joann, the fabric and craft supplies retailer, recently launched a documentary-style web series titled "Working from Home with Phyllis." The effort starred Phyllis Smith, the actress best known for her role in "The Office," where she shared the screen with Kaling. Despite airing its final episode in 2013, the NBC sitcom has held enduring appeal and become one of the most-watched programs on Netflix, where it will be hosted until the end of the year before migrating to NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming platform.