‘Word of mom’ campaign heats up Cuisinart’s kitchens

Cuisinart is about to blend its online integration at UrbanMoms.ca with live chefs. Member moms in major urban centres won't just be sharing product-related info at the site. They'll be bringing it into their homes for branded kitchen parties - just one more thing to talk about online. Sounds circular, doesn't it?

Toronto-based Scratch Marketing’s ‘word of mom’ campaign for Cuisinart Canada launched in September 2006, but the kitchen’s about to get hotter. It started with Cuisinart brand manager Michelle Kostya’s goal to build interactive, personal opportunities for moms to interact with the brand across the country using a non-intrusive interface. With its blog-style format, UrbanMoms.ca was a perfect fit, and soon the ‘Cuisinart Kitchen Party’ section was up and running, encouraging members to submit recipes, product evaluations and food stories, as well as answering polls and commenting on fellow members’ submissions. Additionally, new mothers are invited to download a baby recipe book.

So far the campaign, along with a viral email component (through pass-on rates for recipes and such), has boosted UrbanMoms.ca‘s membership from 6,000 to 10,000 active members. The site averages around 7,000 page views per week, or just over 5,000 unique visitors, an increase of about 25% since the creation of Kitchen Party.

Scratch Marketing partner David Riabov says, ‘The rules of engagement are set by the UrbanMoms.ca online community, and if you’re looking for hard selling, this is the wrong medium. Putting your brand (product) out there and letting it speak for itself can be nerve-wracking unless you’re 100% positive your brand is up to it. Cuisinart did not even hesitate.’

In February or March 2007, Cuisinart will enhance the online interaction with offline events by hosting Cuisinart Kitchen Parties in homes of UrbanMoms.ca community members across Canada. The women will be asked to invite friends over to learn unique, time-saving recipes from one of Cuisinart’s chefs. Participants will receive a gift and cookbook from Cuisinart and party goers will be encouraged to write and comment about their Kitchen Party experience on UrbanMoms.ca. Scratch will handle creative for some print executions and PR initiatives that will promote the events and the online environments.

UrbanMoms.ca founder Jen Maier says the true opportunity for marketers exists in getting consumers to generate positive branded messages to each other. ‘The only way to make this happen is to put control of the message within the hands of the community members. There is no copywriter creating the perfect way to communicate your message, and sometimes you might not like everything you see. But if your brand is worthy, consumers will talk about it and an online community is an incredibly powerful and viral place to get the message out.’

About 95% of the site’s members are female, 90% have one or more child, 82% are married, and 95% are from Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal or Halifax. The average income of users is 75K+ and their age range is 26-49.