- The Laughing Cow, the cheese brand marketed by Bel Group, is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a multichannel campaign that includes QR code-enabled packaging, online video, digital content and social media. As part of the effort, the brand created a website that lets people record and share laughs for a chance to win an exclusive "laugh box" to record and replay their laughter, per an announcement.
- Consumers can visit 100ytlc.com directly or scan QR codes on specially marked cheese wedges to open the website and start recording their laughter, which is posted on a virtual globe for others to hear. Laughing Cow will sell the QR code-enabled cheese wedges in all-red packaging at select retailers from February through March, and has a goal of recording 30,000 laughs in the U.S.
- The campaign builds from the brand's name to lighten the mood at a difficult time in an authentic way. As part of the effort, Laughing Cow pledged $75,000 to the ComedyCures Foundation, which provides therapeutic entertainment to people living with illness, depression, trauma and disabilities. Laughing Cow also is partnering with nongovernmental organizations in more than 30 countries, per its announcement.
Laughing Cow's anniversary campaign is a sign of how brands have returned to lighthearted themes after consumers started to grow weary of advertising that referred to pandemic uncertainties. Generation Z was among the first consumer groups to express an interest in a return to fun advertising to help fill the hours spent in isolation. With people stuck at home, the effort to crowdsource laughter gives people a way to feel they are part of a community while spreading happiness. It stands in contrast to the website justscream.baby, which earlier in the pandemic urged people to call a telephone number where their screams could be recorded. Justscream.baby collected over 130,000 screams between October 2020 and January 2021, per the site.
Laughing Cow's marketing returns to the theme of laughter that it has leveraged in the past, but this time is using it as a way to lighten the public mood amid the slow rollout of coronavirus vaccinations and ongoing economic pressures for many. The brand also hopes to stand out with refreshed packaging as more people prepare food at home. By creating an engaging web-based experience, the marketer can learn more about its customers and their behaviors.
The cheese brand is showing its commitment to social causes with its support of nonprofit groups like the ComedyCures Foundation, whose mission of providing therapeutic laughter is consistent with the friendly demeanor of the Laughing Cow brand. With studies indicating consumers favor brands that show how they're giving back during the pandemic, Laughing Cow aims to demonstrate how it's helping the community.
The campaign also is notable for using QR codes on Laughing Cow packaging to activate a web-based experience on mobile devices. The scannable codes started to make a comeback in advertising several years ago after being derided for their unappealing visual design and clunky user experience. As the pandemic led to greater demand for contactless transactions, QR codes have become more pervasive. The applications for the technology include everything from replacing menus at restaurants to providing links to online product information. Among the recent examples of brands that have used the technology, sportswear giant Nike let visitors to its NYC House of Innovation Store activate a mobile-based experiences by scanning a QR code, while Pepsi added the codes to limited-edition packaging for a campaign tie-in with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League.