Plot Twist Creativity recently finished up the 2021 Thanksgiving campaign for Central Market and how tasty it looks thanks to their design partner, Trace Element. We had the opportunity to chat with Dave Kroencke, Principal and Founder at Plot Twist Creativity, and Jeff Barfoot, Partner at Trace Element, about how this campaign differs from others in “the really into food” concept.
AdChat DFW: Hi Dave, let’s talk about the new Central Market Thanksgiving campaign with the tagline, “Grateful by the Plateful.” Is this another extension of the same campaign when we hear the radio spot, “Do you like hatch peppers?”
Dave Kroencke: It’s all the same campaign. The whole idea “really into food” is the theme line that we use, and all the copy revolves around that. Clearly talking about hatch chiles is way different than talking about Thanksgiving, which is different than talking about an upcoming citrus event. It gives you the ability to do something new and different and creative, but still stay within the overall campaign,
AdChat DFW: Did Chris Smith solely write it and who did all the design work?
Dave Kroencke: There are three copyrighters, Chris Smith, Wendy Mayes and Rachel Dawer that worked on this with Trace Element. Trace Element is the design company that was formed out of RBMM, the former corporate packaging identity arm of The Richards Group.
The principals there, Jeff Barfoot and Lindsey Phaup, brought quite a few designers over from RBBM, so basically, it’s a version of the Plot Twist story, but really focused on design. We partnered with them on Central Market for years, because there’s a lot of in-store material, banners and posters. As you can see, they have a terrific illustration approach. They create the art direction and design, and we do the copywriting and digital strategy. Actually, we conceptualize it all together and kind act as one agency, which is truly fun and unique. We’ve been partners and friends for a long time and the client loves it, so it has worked out.
AdChat DFW: Jeff, how did you approach the art direction/design for this year’s Central Market campaign?
Jeff Barfoot: I always say there’s kind of two kinds of design. There’s design that is meant to get in the way, and then there’s design that needs to get out of the way. Most of the time when you’re doing creative, your job is to make an impact, stand out or make your client look a little different. But in this case for Thanksgiving, the food is the big star of the day, so we just wanted colorful and stylish, not overly conceptual or tricked so that the food would take a back seat. We do 10 events a year for Central Market… we’ve done ones with alien spacecraft and all kinds of things. Our job on this one was to support the food and just get out of the way to let it be delicious and huge.
AdChat DFW: How do you manage to make it similar but different?
Dave Kroencke: Our writers, Chris, Wendy and Rachel, do such a great job year after year with this ongoing campaign where the copy, look and feel continues to stay fresh. It’s amazing when you think to yourself, ‘Oh gosh, another Thanksgiving and we have to come up with another unique twist on the main theme.’ And then they just do it. It’s just amazing.
AdChat DFW: Other than keeping within the same brand constraints, did the client have any specific direction for this Thanksgiving vs last Thanksgiving?
Dave Kroencke: You can imagine with the 2020 pandemic, last year’s was very different. This year, we’re focusing more on relationships and thankfulness with our event name “Grateful by the Plateful”. Because we started this work three months ago, we were a little cautious how gatherings might look, but the whole sense of gratitude really played well. Throughout the pandemic, the notion that people are grateful for the little things they may not have previously considered, made a lot of sense for this year’s Thanksgiving season.